UCLA's Speraw hired as US men's volleyball coach

ANNE M. PETERSON AP Sports Writer Published:

UCLA men's volleyball coach John Speraw has been hired as the head coach of the U.S. men's volleyball team in preparation for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

Speraw will continue to coach the Bruins while he works with the national team, which is headquartered in Anaheim, Calif. He took over as UCLA coach this season and has led the team to a 15-9 record.

"I am honored to have been selected to coach this elite group of talented U.S. players and I appreciate UCLA's support in allowing me to pursue this tremendous opportunity," he said in a statement Monday.

Speraw was an assistant coach under Hugh McCutcheon for the U.S. men's team that won the gold medal in the 2008 Beijing Games. He continued as an assistant under Alan Knipe for the Olympic team that finished fifth in London last summer.

The U.S. men are currently ranked fifth in the world by the FIVB, the sport's international governing body.

"He's a terrifically talented coach who has had a remarkable level of success at the college level," said Doug Beal, USA Volleyball's chief executive officer. "He knows the current U.S. men's player pool very well from his experiences over the last two quads. He has mentored under both Hugh McCutcheon and Alan Knipe."

Before replacing UCLA volleyball coach Al Skates, Speraw was coach at UC Irvine for 10 seasons, leading the Anteaters to three national championships and four appearances in the NCAA finals.

Speraw played at UCLA from 1992-95 and was part of two national championship teams.

"John has experience in the international game, has relationships with the current national team players and has direct exposure to the next generation of players, which are a few of the many reasons that make John a good fit to take charge of the national team," three-time Olympian Reid Priddy said.

Speraw will be formally introduced as coach of the U.S. men on Tuesday at the American Sports Centers, where the team trains.