UC Santa Barbara hires former outside Irons as assistant coach

A former outside attacker who helped UC Santa Barbara win the program’s last MPSF championship and reach the NCAA Tournament will return to the Gauchos’ sidelines.

UC Santa Barbara coach Rick McLaughlin announced Thursday that the school hired Cullen Irons to be an assistant coach for the 2013 season.

Irons was a three-year starter for the Gauchos and as a senior finished second on the team in kills while helping lead UC Santa Barbara to the 2011 NCAA championship match. After the Gauchos as a No. 7 seed won the 2011 MPSF Tournament, Irons earned All-NCAA Tournament Team honors and had a team-high in kills as UC Santa Barbara upset USC in the NCAA Tournament semifinals.


“Cullen brings a great level of experience to our staff,” McLaughlin said in a statement released Thursday. “Everything he went through during the last three years of his Gaucho career leading up to his team’s appearance in the 2011 National Championship match is exactly what our current Gauchos are experiencing in pursuit of our goal of a national title. Sharing his experiences will definitely help our guys stay focused and motivate them to do what it takes.”

Irons following his graduation played on the Professional Beach Volleyball circuit. The school announced that he also will continue training and pursuing his professional career while coaching at UC Santa Barbara.

Irons will replace his former teammate Vince Devany on McLaughlin’s coaching staff. Devany recently signed a professional contract with a team in Belgium and will not return to the Gauchos for the 2013 season.

UC Santa Barbara returns a majority of starters after reaching the MPSF Tournament and almost upsetting the defending-NCAA champions UC Irvine in the opening round.