A group of nominees from a new nation to the list

A contact in Czech volleyball circles suggested this quintet of coaches as being among the best from that nation.

Zdenek Pommer – more than 10 titles in pocket
Petr Brom – also many titles
Jan Svoboda – ex national team coach, currently in Jihostroj Ceske Budejovice

Miroslav Cada – 7 titles in row with Prostejov
Stanislav Mitac – great coach for young girls, coach of Olymp Praha

Adding to the high school group

A trio of high school coaches have been recommended to us over the last couple of day.s

Issac Owens has coached the boys team at Esperanza high school for 13 years, leading the program to four CIF titles (2002, 2007, 2013 and 2014).The Aztecs were selected the national team of the year by Volleyball Magazine in 2007. They were also state team of the year. His overall record is 281-115. His teams have gone undefeated in the Century League for previous four seasons (48-0). Owens recently resigned from the boys’ team, but will continue to coach the girls.

Stephen Pierce has coached the Eden High School team for 27 years and recently became the winningest coach in New York history with over 900 victories and 11 state championships (also a state record). His team has been ranked as high as #16 nationally. He was the Prepvolleyball.com 2010 National Volleyball High School Co-Coach of the Year.

Eric Sullivan is currently the coach at Marquette University High School. He took over seven years ago and in that time has won the state championship 5 times. He has produced multiple All State awards averaging more than 1 every year (I count 10 not including 2010 because I cannot find it). Sully also had a string of successes as the North Shore (now just Milwaukee) 18s coach, finishing in gold multiple times in a row and sending many to college. It’s also worth noting that his Marquette team had Conrad Kaminski and Peter Hutz on the floor at last years national championship.


Tapping into the Junior College ranks

Had a nice list of junior college coaches to add to the nominations list.

One group missing would be community college coaches. They do a lot of recruiting, have to do a ton of development…along with extras other college coaches don’t.


  • Bill Burnside, John Logan College –teaches better 0-tempo attacks than any other juco coach
  • Sue Sinclair, Illinois Central –has a national title, AVCA coach of the year a couple times
  • Jim Dietz, Lincoln Land –has coached USA HP, along with high school. Is also a club director
  • Kelly Daniels, Mav Jrs. –took Longview College to nationals–also officiates and does club
  • Rick Reynolds, Western Wyoming –has limited scholarships and a crappy geographic location…still wins regularly
  • Bob Vilsoet, Harper College –D3 juco so has no scholarships…totally different philosophy than jucos with scholarships. Same could be done with Brookhaven (TX)’s coach whose name escapes me at the moment.
  • Jennifer Ei, Johnson County (Kansas)
  • Rick Younger, Butler CC (Kansas) –he’s a baseball guy who made the transition to volleyball, so he has a different perspective on things.

Figured I’d pass on those names…juco coaches are usually ignored because people in volleyball don’t see them like in other sports.

A mixed bunch of nominees

We had a group of nominees all come in one bunch. They cover collegiate, club, and high school levels. They also include coaches for both genders. The bolded names are repeat nominations.

D3 – Becky Schmidt – Hope College
D3 – Amber Warners – Calvin College
D3 – Jenny McDowell – Emory University
D3 – Johan Dulfer – Clarkson University
D3 men – Charlie Sullivan – Springfield College
D3 men – LJ Marx – Carthage College
D3 men/Boys Club – Cal Wickens – Nazareth College/Pace Bootlegger Volleyball Club
D2 – Brad Starkey – Concordia
HS – Tom Turco – Barnstable High School Ma
HS – Gary Bynon – Burnt Hills High School NY
HS – Maria Nolan – Immaculate Heart Academy NJ
HS – Al Bennett – Austin Westlake Tx
HS/Club – CJ Denk – Our Lady of Mercy/Paradigm VBC
Club – Rob Workmeister – Volley FX
Club – Missy McLinden – Synergy Volleyball Club
Club – Bob Westbrook – A5 Volleyball Club

A quartet of new Juniors and High School nominations

We had a handful of additional nominations in the Juniors and High School categories on Tuesday, with some expansion of the coverage of boys’ volleyball. As as been the pattern, they have mostly been from the USA, but we did get another recommendation from the German coaching ranks.

Come on folks! Let’s get some more youth coach nominations from the great wide world.

Günther Krispin is one of the most prolific coaches in Northern Germany, having worked with different clubs over the course of the years he always developed well rounded solid volleyball players, who were technically and tactically skilled to compete at a high level.
Günther coached the women’s youth national team (1976-81), the selection team of the state of Schleswig-Holstein, he worked for the federation in coaches clinics, co-authored a volleyball handbook and much more. There are tons of wisdom to be earned from this retired teacher.

Kevin Jones has coached at the College level and at the Club level for Tidewater Volleyball, Seven Cities, and Coastal. He is the best Setters Coach on the east coast having developed Curtis Stallings at Long Beach State and also has put multiple club players into college at all levels. He is able to analysis a players strengths and weakness’s and get the most out of the players athletic talent. He has also taken multiple teams to the Open Competition at nationals and has served as an assistant coach in the Boys HP pipeline.

Will Hall has been a coach in the Wisconsin high school and club community for quite some time now. In a community where the sport of volleyball is not overly popular and competitive in Wisconsin, Will has finished in the top 5 at Junior Nationals 5 times (at least, it may be more) in the Open Division with West Allis Lightning, including the 2010 Junior Nationals Boys 16 Open champions. He is well respected not only within Wisconsin, but nationwide. College coaches such as Marv Dunphy, Ken Shibuya, and Brad Keller turn to Will for his opinion on high school players not only within his own program, but also kids from all over the Midwest. Club coaches throughout the country also respect his opinion and have asked him to come work at camps in a number of different regions of the country. He is a very good teacher of the game and has sent numerous players on to college programs (at least 8).

Eric Maxwell started the Boys program at Southern Regional High School in Manahwkin, NJ at a time when no other school in the southern 2/3s of NJ had a boys team, and there were virtually no girls HS teams either. He had a “major” coaching issue, youtube video style, and dealt with it in a humbling yet profound way. His teams have done extremely well, but, for me, it is more about the way the kids keep on playing once they have left HS. He coaches both the boys and the girls now at the HS.

Starting to make some Juniors waves

Thanks to some efforts spreading the word about Volleyball Coaching Wizards, the nominations at the Juniors/Youth club level are starting to flow in. Here are some that came in today.

Darrell Dilmore has prepared many players for the next level and has done it over the course of many years. He’s also been an excellent mentor of young coaches and generous with tactics, strategy and teaching methods. His teams have always enjoyed success on and off the court and he often does it without the most talented kids. The other coachs I would recommend at this level are Rich Polk and Matt Diaz who have been coaching for years and has been an excellent trainers of young players. Both have different methods and philosophies (Rich only coaches 16s at Balboa while Diaz will take a team for 4 years) and have successfully trained many athletes for the college game.

Bryan Pieschel from St. Louis High Performance and affiliated with USA Volleyball is a phenomenal coach who is able to bring the fundamentals of the game in a “tough love” sort of way to players. You have to see him in action to really understand the impact the guy makes on the players. Currently the boy’s director for all of the club, Bryan also coaches the 14 Royal team. Players who miss playing for Bryan because they join the club in high school are disappointed that they didn’t get the opportunity to learn from this incredible teacher.   Ex-military, Bryan is very disciplined and expects his players to give it their all and is very vocal about this at practices. He is direct and to the point. Yet he is able to connect on a human level and be loved by the players and parents. Everyone should have the opportunity to play at least one season for Bryan – preferably early in the development stage – as he is a master a teaching the fundamentals of defense and team play.

John Trojaniak, Founder of Windy City VBC, now retied.
Molly Kavanaugh, Asics Tigers from Orange county, also retired.
Ron Kordes, KIVA
Dave Shondell, HC Purdue, formerly club director and coach with Munciana
Rick Butler, SPRI.
Mike Lingenfelter, Municiana
Chris Beerman, Lexington United
Rich Zeziski, Team Z, now retired.
Ping Zhou, Texas Advantage.
Jim Miret Front Range Volleyball.

Germany makes its debut

We have our first nomination of a German to the ranks of Volleyball Coaching Wizards in the form of János Toth. Importantly, this is also in the Juniors/Youth Club category, which is one which is in need of additional names. Here’s the rationale provided:

For almost three decades János as the head coach for the all state Teams of Berlin, Germany, developed young players from the bottom up. Many players out of his “making” pursued a professional career later. He was know nation wide as THE expert for volleyball techniques. He was always up to date and a well frequented expert. He had a passion not only for volleyball but especially for techniques. He retired some years ago.

Slovenia gets its first entry

Luka Slabe has become the first Slovenian coach to be put forward as a potential Volleyball Coaching Wizard. He spent a couple of years as head coach for his country’s men’s national team, but stepped down earlier this year to focus on his club coaching and spend more time with his family.

From the CEV website:

Slabe had started his career in Kropa and after only one season in the business he was promoted to head coach of Slovenia’s vice-champions, Calcit KAMNIK. He went on to mentor Slovenia’s major Volleyball force, ACH Volley LJUBLJANA, a team that has become a regular feature also on the elite CEV Volleyball Champions League. Slabe stayed with ACH Volley until the beginning of the 2014-2015 season before moving to Austria to coach the team of Posojilnica AICH/DOB that this year made their second consecutive appearance in the CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League – Men.

Luka played collegiately at BYU where no doubt he saw some pretty good coaching playing for Hall of Famer Carl McGown.

Put a pin in the Wizards map for Sweden

The first nomination of a Volleyball Coaching Wizard from Sweden came in today in the form of Ismo Peltoarvo. The nomination submission said of Peltoarvo:

He has had astounding success wherever he has been. Has won 3 national championships with every club he has decided to coach. Has stayed mostly in Sweden because of family considerations. Could have been acknowledged as one of the greats if he had ventured outside

You can learn more about Peltoarvo at his website. I count a total of 22 titles and championships on his resume dating back to 1983 with a combination of both men’s and women’s teams. That’s impressive no matter where you do it!

Just the sort of suggestion we’re after

The following came in from a nomination form submission. It’s exactly the sort of Volleyball Coaching Wizard nominee we’re looking for!

Roger Adams is one of the best volleyball coaches in the business, but most importantly, he is one of the best teachers and mentors I’ve ever known. He got me into the sport in the 80’s when he was winning Gold Medals at a club called The Bay Club. The club, operating out of Fremont High School in Northern California, was one of the most successful volleyball clubs of the 80’s and 90’s and was originally started by Stanford’s Head Women’s Volleyball Coach, John Dunning. Roger’s teaching style does more than produce top level athletes, it produces exceptional people, giving them skills to excel in life as well as sports. He has won multiple Gold Medals as a Junior’s coach and was an Assistant Coach to Kerri Walsh Jennings at MItty High School when she was a sophomore through her senior year. Roger currently coaches track and field at a prestigious middle school in Saratoga, CA called St. Andrew’s where he has taught for over 35 years. He has a following of past and present students that makes him one of the most loved and respected coaches in the business.