John Speraw will be coaching the U.S. Men’s National Team for the 2016 Olympics, but won’t be leaving the UCLA sidelines.
USA Volleyball announced Monday evening that the first-year UCLA head coach will coach the United States in the upcoming summer Olympics while maintaining his position at UCLA for the next three years.
Speraw will be one of the first U.S. National Team coaches in recent history to keep his college coaching position while also coaching the Olympic team. Most head coaches hired, such as 2012 Olympic head coach and current Long Beach State head coach Alan Knip, have taken a multiple-year sabbatical to coach the Olympic team.
This will be the third consecutive Olympics that Speraw has coached the United States. Spraw served in a dual-role during the two last Olympics as an assistant coach for the U.S. National Team and the head coach of UC Irvine
USA Volleyball Chief Executive Officer Doug Beal said Monday in a statement that he felt Speraw was the right person to lead the United States at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.
“I am very happy that John has accepted our offer to be the U.S. Men’s head coach,” Beal said. “He’s the right person for the job for this quad at this time. He’s a terrifically talented coach who has had a remarkable level of success at the college level. He knows the current U.S. Men’s player pool very well from his experiences over the last two quads.”
The United States with Speraw as an assistant coach won the gold medal in the 2008 Olympics and was upset in the quarterfinals of the 2012 Olympics.
Along his international experience, Speraw coached UC Irvine to three national championships in the last six years, including the 2012 national championship. Speraw after winning the national championship last season opted to resign from UC Irvine to replace Hall of Fame coach Al Scates as UCLA’s head coach.
Speraw when he was hired at UCLA in the summer said that he would not pursue an opportunity to coach of the Olympic team in 2016. However, the coach said in a statement Monday that he now feels coaching both teams at the same time is possible.
“Now that I’ve been at UCLA for almost a full season, it is apparent that [coaching both teams] is doable,” Speraw said. “The support and resources at UCLA are beyond what I have imagined. I have two great assistant coaches [at UCLA] in Brad Keller and Andrea Becker and an amazing staff.
UCLA in Speraw’s first season as head coach is No. 4 in the latest national coaches poll and tied for fourth place in the MPSF.