(UCLA) – John Speraw, who guided UC Irvine to the 2012 NCAA men’s volleyball championship in a three-set victory over USC, was named UCLA’s head coach, Athletic Director Dan Guerrero announced today.
Speraw served 10 seasons as UC Irvine’s coach and transformed the program into a national power. Under his direction, the Anteaters won three NCAA titles in the last six years and advanced to the NCAA Championship four times, won two MPSF regular season titles and a pair of MPSF Tournament championships.
“We are excited to welcome John Speraw back to Westwood to take the reins of the men’s volleyball program,” Guerrero said. “After winning three national titles as a head coach at UC Irvine and two as a player at UCLA, he certainly knows what it takes to win at the highest level. In addition, as a former Bruin assistant coach and student-athlete, he knows first-hand the values and ideals we hold near and dear as an athletic department and as an institution.”
Speraw, 40, assumes the duties of his collegiate mentor, Al Scates, who is retiring after 50 years as the Bruins’ head coach.
“I’m confident that John Speraw is the right man to lead UCLA men’s volleyball into the next era,” said Scates. “He has proven himself to be an outstanding coach both collegiately and internationally. UCLA is privileged to have him.”
Speraw has also been successful on the international level, serving as an assistant coach with the United States Men’s Indoor Volleyball Team that won the gold medal at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. In 2011, he was given the U.S. Olympic Achievement Award, an honor that recognizes the colleges and universities whose coaches and student-athletes have won Olympic medals in the past two Olympiads.
In May, the U.S. qualified for the 2012 Games in London, and Speraw will serve as assistant coach once again.
“It is a great honor to be asked to lead one of the greatest programs in NCAA sports history.” Said Speraw. “Al Scates is a great friend and mentor. I hope to continue his legacy of producing great championship teams.
“As I walked around campus last week, I remembered why I chose UCLA years ago,” Speraw continued. “I love the campus. I love the people who work there and the values that we share. I loved my experiences as a student-athlete and a young coach and I’m very much looking forward to my experiences as a head coach at my alma mater. This is indeed home and I am excited to be back.”
In 2009, Speraw guided the UCI team to a 27-5 overall record and ended the year ranked No. 1 in the country. The Anteaters were ranked No. 1 for eight weeks, the most of any team in the nation. UCI also captured the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation regular season title.
With UCI’s first national championship in 2007, Speraw became the only individual to win a title as a head coach, assistant coach and player in collegiate men’s volleyball history.
Along with the national championship in 2007, Speraw’s team also won its first Mountain Pacific Sports Federation tournament championship, ended the year with the No. 1 ranking and recorded a school record 29 victories, a win total that was the best among all NCAA Division I-II schools that season.
Speraw was named 2006 AVCA National Coach of the Year as well as Mountain Pacific Sports Federation and Volleyball Magazine Coach of the Year. He has been a finalist for National Coach of the Year three times.
In 2006, The Anteaters claimed their first-ever regular season Mountain Pacific Sports Federation title, finishing with a 20-2 league record. The team won a school-record 21 consecutive matches to end the regular season and held the top ranking for eight consecutive weeks.
Speraw, who was 199-106 (.652) overall as head coach of the Anteaters, has mentored both the AVCA Division I-II Men’s National Player of the Year and the AVCA Division I-II Men’s Newcomer of the Year in 2006. UC Irvine players have earned All-American distinction 21 times since Speraw arrived at UCI, including nine first-teamers. While at Irvine, Speraw’s players have also garnered MPSF Player of the Year, MPSF Freshman of the Year, NCAA Championship MVP, NCAA All-Tournament Team, numerous national and conference Player of the Week honors as well as academic distinctions such as Academic All-American, MPSF & UCI Scholar-Athletes and Lauds & Laurels Athlete of the Year. Under Speraw’s leadership, the men’s volleyball team has produced no fewer than five scholar-athletes each year.
Speraw, who has had a team ranked No. 1 in five different seasons, has placed the Anteaters in the Top 10 final rankings all but one year while at the helm at UCI.
In 2008, he received a Pillar Award, which showcases outstanding achievement in ethical leadership at the12th Annual Ethics in America Awards. Speraw was also named to OC METRO Business Magazine’s 18th annual list of the Hottest 25 Business People of Orange County and was tabbed No. 16 in the Daily Pilot’s 2007 Top 103 Most Influential People in the Newport/Costa Mesa Area. Speraw has been in the Most Influential list the last four years including the Sports Newsmaker of the Year in 2006.
Speraw was named an assistant coach with the U.S. National Team in January 2007 and helped Team USA not only to the gold medal in 2008, but a World League Championship. He also served as an assistant coach the U.S. Women’s National Team in 2009.
Speraw’s other international coaching experience, includes serving as the head coach of the USA Junior National Team three times as well as the head coach of the Youth National Team. He also served as an assistant for the Youth National Team (1998 and 2001), the World University Games Team (1997 and 1999) and the Pan American Games Team (1999, 2007 and 2011).
Prior to UCI, Speraw served in various roles with the UCLA volleyball program for 12 years. He played middle blocker for the Bruins from 1990-95 and was a member of two national championship teams. He was named to the NCAA All-Tournament team in 1995 when he recorded 11 kills and eight blocks in the championship victory over Penn State. He graduated from UCLA in 1995 with a BS degree in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics.
Speraw became a volunteer assistant coach with the Bruins before assuming a full-time assistant’s position in 1998. As a member of the UCLA coaching staff, he served on teams that won NCAA titles in 1998 and 2000 and one that advanced to the finals in 2001.
Speraw was elected to the AVCA Board of Directors as the men’s representative in 2007.
He is the co-author of the book Exercise for Your Muscle Type: The Smart Way to Get Fit and had a cameo appearance in the movie Beach Kings.