Minnesota coach named to head volleyball squad

PULLMAN, Wash. — Brian Heffernan, an associate head coach at the University of Minnesota, has been named the head coach of the Washington State University volleyball team.

“Brian’s knowledge and experience make him a great selection to lead the Cougar volleyball program,” said WSU Director of Athletics Jim Sterk. “He was an integral part of Minnesota’s Sweet Sixteen and Final Four finishes the past two seasons and he understands the great volleyball tradition we have at Washington State.”

Heffernan becomes the 10th volleyball coach in school history, replacing Cindy Fredrick, the Cougar coach for 15 seasons before leaving for the head coaching position at the University of Iowa last month.

A New York native, Heffernan, 34, spent four seasons with the Minnesota volleyball program, two as associate head coach after serving as an assistant his first two seasons with head coach Mike Hebert. The Golden Gophers were the Big Ten Conference champions and reached the national semi-final match last fall after NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearances in both 2000 and 2002. The team also advanced to the NCAA second round in 2001. In addition to his coaching duties at Minnesota, Heffernan assisted Hebert and the U.S. National Team in their training for the 2003 Pan American Games.

Heffernan is a 1993 graduate of Penn State University, where he played in three NCAA men’s volleyball national semi-finals with the Nittany Lions. He graduated with a degree in secondary education and biological sciences. Heffernan was an assistant coach with the Penn State men’s volleyball team in 1994, which won the NCAA Championship.

Before coaching at Minnesota, Heffernan was an assistant coach for the Pepperdine men’s team for two years and for the Cal State Los Angeles women’s team for one year. He was the founder, director and head coach of the Renegade Volleyball Club in Ventura, Calif., from 1995-2000. He has also served as the assistant coach for the USA Women’s Youth National Volleyball Team in 1998, and as the head coach for the USA Women’s Junior National Volleyball Team at the 1999 Junior World Championships.

“We were really impressed with his background and as I called people around the country, his name kept coming up,” Marcia Saneholtz, WSU Senior Associate Director of Athletics said. “He had lots of really positive support from a lot of different factions of the volleyball community. His breadth of experience is impressive as a collegiate player, a successful club coach in Southern California and as an associate head coach at the University of Minnesota. He has lots of great contacts and experiences across the country and we are excited about the future of Cougar volleyball under his direction.”

Heffernan is in the process of finishing his master’s degree in applied kinesiology and exercise science at the University of Minnesota. He and his wife, Carol, have two daughters, 2-year-old Kate, and 3 1/2 month old Jane.

Last year the Cougar volleyball team finished with a 9-20 overall record and was 5-13 and tied for seventh in Pacific-10 Conference action. The 2004 season opens at UNLV Sept. 4, with the first home match Tuesday, Sept. 21, against Colorado State.

A reception for the media and volleyball boosters to meet Coach Heffernan is planned for mid-July, the exact date and location to be determined upon his arrival in Pullman.

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