Say what you want about the Shawn Burke hiring yesterday, which seemed to fly in the face of Danny White's comments about "moving in another direction" when he first initiated change in the Women's Soccer program this fall. In replacing departed Volleyball Head Coach Todd Kress, White is swinging for the fences.
Per Brian Wolff on Twitter, UB will announce the new head coach at 2:00 this afternoon.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Excited to make an announcement about the future of <a href="https://twitter.com/ubvolleyball">@ubvolleyball</a> this afternoon. Check <a href="http://t.co/xyXKrVei3S">http://t.co/xyXKrVei3S</a> around 2pm <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23NYBI&src=hash">#NYBI</a></p>— Brian Wolff (@UBBrianWolff) <a href="https://twitter.com/UBBrianWolff/statuses/421309779135311872">January 9, 2014</a></blockquote>
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Internet chatter on the volleyball website volleytalk.proboards.com reports that UB has hired Reed Sunahara to lead UB after its most successful MAC season to date.
Sunahara's little-used Twitter account, @ReedSunahara, is already followed by Wolff and Men's Soccer Coach Stu Riddle.
While I know volleyball OK, I don't follow the national landscape of the game to much of a degree. This hire made waves among the regulars on Volleytalk, who were treating it as a significant get for UB. Sunahara comes to UB with a serious pedigree, having held the top spot at Cincinnati for twelve years. Guiding the Bearcats through the transition from Conference USA to the Big East, Sunahara's teams won 20+ matches in 11 of his 12 seasons. He resigned from Cincinnati in January 2012 on good terms with the university.
By comparison, UB's 18 wins this season marked a program high since joining the MAC. While UB has only made the conference tournament once, Cincinnati won a pair of Big East Conference Championships, the 2011 Big East Tournament crown and three Conference USA regular season Championships as Sunahara piled up a 289-109 record in southwest Ohio. Coach Sunahara also has MAC experience, as he went 19-40 in two seasons with Toledo from 1995 to 1996, before moving on to an assistant position at Cincinnati. Prior to his time at Toledo he helped coach the men's volleyball team at UCLA.
I could stop this post right here and I would have said enough. But there's more:
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Feb. 18, 2013) – Reed Sunahara has agreed to serve as the assistant coach for the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team during the 2013-2016 Olympic quadrennial, working together with head coach Karch Kiraly.
Sunahara is not a stranger to the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team program or the USA Volleyball High Performance pipeline. He led the U.S. Women to the 2012 Pan American Cup title last summer with a squad absent of any 2012 Olympians competing against the likes of Brazil and Dominican Republic with largely their Olympic roster. The Pan Am Cup gold medal qualified the Americans into the 2013 FIVB World Grand Prix where they will attempt to win an unprecedented fourth consecutive title of the premier annual event for international volleyball. Sunahara gained a familiarity with the FIVB World Grand Prix as he served as the U.S. Women’s team leader during the 2010 World Grand Prix edition.
That's not just international experience for UB's next head coach; he'll be traveling to Rio in 2016 to represent the USA and could very likely bring a medal back to UB. Talk about a big hire and one that will impress recruits. Many fans who only follow volleyball because they can't get enough during the Olympics will recognize Sunahara's boss, all-time great Karch Kiraly.
All kudos to Danny White on this one. Some posters on Volleytalk suggested that Sunahara was UB's first target, and that he was offered the job and accepted on the spot. Clearly the young AD was able to show Coach Sunahara that UB was worth coming to, and perhaps more importantly, Sunahara agreed.
We had many new posters join Bull Run and comment on Todd Kress' dismissal. Come back on and tell us what you think of this move by UB.