LSU hired Tonya Johnson — the associate head coach at Texas — as its new head coach, Nebraska promoted two assistants, North Dakota has a coach, and the VolleyballMag.com All-American teams and top honors are a day away. We have our finalists for player, coach, and freshman of the year.
Also, USA Volleyball announced that its respective head coaches, John Speraw and Karch Kiraly, are back for the rest of the quad and will coach their Olympics teams through 2024.
VBM TOP HONORS — The annual VolleyballMag.com All-American teams will be announced Friday as our Christmas present to the college volleyball world. We also honor the top player, top coach, and top freshman.
Here are the final three for each of the individual awards:
Player of the year — Logan Eggleston of Texas, Dana Rettke of Wisconsin, Stephanie Samedy of Minnesota
Coach of the year — Julie Darty Dennis of Mississippi State, Dani Busboom Kelly of Louisville, John Cook of Nebraska
Freshman of the year — Kami Miner of Stanford, Lexi Rodriguez of Nebraska, Norah Sis of Creighton.
LSU — Tonya Johnson — who grew up in Zachary, Louisiana, played at LSU from 1987-90 and later coached there — is the new head coach at the SEC school. Johnson was on the LSU team that went to the 1990 NCAA national semifinals. She has been at Texas twice, the first time from 2003-08 and then again from 2014 to now. In between her Texas stints, she was the head coach at Georgia Tech.
Johnson replaces Fran Flory, who retired after 24 years. Their ties run deep. Flory was an assistant coach at LSU when Johnson played, and then Johnson served as Flory’s assistant at Kentucky in 1995 and at LSU from 1998-2002. She inherits a program that hasn’t been to the NCAA Tournament since 2017 and hasn’t advanced past the second round since 1992. The Tigers finished 13-14 this fall, including 9-9 in the SEC after winning five of their last seven matches.
NEBRASKA — After Tyler Hildebrand left to become the head coach at Long Beach State, Nebraska coach John Cook moved up two of his assistants.
Assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Jaylen Reyes will move into the lead assistant role, and former setter (and VolleyballMag.com national player of the year) Kelly Hunter has been promoted from a volunteer assistant to a full-time coach.
Reyes, who played at BYU, has been on the Nebraska staff since 2018.
Hunter was the setter on Nebraska’s 2015 and 2017 national-championship teams. She played professionally before joining the Huskers again in 2019 as a graduate assistant and has served in various roles since, including with the Nebraska beach program.
NORTH DAKOTA — Jesse Tupac, who has been an assistant at New Mexico, takes over a program that finished 1-29 this season, including 0-18 in The Summit League. Tupac replaces Jermiah Tiffin, who was there for three seasons.
Tupac played at UCLA and has been an assistant at Denver. He was a director of operations at Penn State and a graduate assistant at Iowa State.
USA VOLLEYBALL — The governing body of the sport in America announced Wednesday that national-team coaches John Speraw and Karch Kiraly have had their contracts renewed.
In the Tokyo Olympics, the USA women won gold for the first time. The men had a tough go and did not make the medal round. The next Olympics are in 2024 in Paris.
Click here to read the USA Volleyball news release.