ANAHEIM, Calif. (June 1, 2016) – U.S. Men’s National Team Head Coach John Speraw, who has led his team to victories in the 2014 FIVB World League and 2015 FIVB World Cup, has agreed to a contract extension for the 2017-20 Olympic Games quadrennial.
Speraw was named the U.S. Men’s head coach on March 23, 2013. Since then, the U.S. Men are 59-24 in matches where he served as head coach while the Men’s Team program is 68-38 overall. Besides the World League and World Cup titles, Speraw has also guided the U.S. Men to a NORCECA Championship (2013) and a World League bronze (2015).
“This was something I definitely wanted to do for another four years,” Speraw said. “I’m honored and grateful that USA Volleyball felt the same way. It’s probably been a more successful quad than most people expected. I feel some of the decisions we’ve made about entrusting young players with a lot of responsibility and having them respond so well puts us in a wonderful position for the next four years.”
USA Volleyball CEO Doug Beal praised Speraw and the success he has had in his three-and-a-half years coaching the U.S. Men’s Team.
“I’m pleased and delighted that we have been able to secure John’s services for a second quadrennial,” Beal said. “He has proven his abilities with some remarkable performances in his first three years and has the team well positioned as we head toward Rio.
“John and his staff have developed a great culture within the U.S. Men’s program and integrated some extraordinarily talented young players very quickly to realize the successes that they have had at the World Cup and World League.”
Speraw, 44, also continues as the head men’s volleyball coach at UCLA in a dual role with the U.S. Men’s National Volleyball Team. He accepted the head job at his alma mater in June 2012. This year, the Bruins made it to the NCAA tournament for the first time in 10 years.
“I’m incredibly grateful that UCLA has felt this is something that is good for me and they want to support me in my continued growth as a coach,” Speraw said. “I feel a deep sense of responsibility to both programs. If I was doing a disservice to either one, I wouldn’t have continued.”
Speraw said he would work to bring back his staff for the next quad, including assistant coaches Matt Fuerbringer and Mike Wall, consultant coach Andrea Becker, athletic trainer Aaron Brock and technical coordinator Nate Ngo.
“We’ve all established our roles and everybody works hard and gets along with each other,” Speraw said. “There’s a great amount of trust and respect and I want to keep every single one of them.”
The U.S. Men’s National Team is preparing for the 2016 Olympic Games ranked No. 5 in the world by the FIVB. Before the Summer Games, Speraw will lead the Men’s Team at the FIVB World League, including matches on July 1-3 in Dallas, Texas. The 2020 Olympic Games will be held in Tokyo.
Two-time Olympian and U.S. Men’s Team Captain David Lee praised Beal and USA Volleyball for re-signing Speraw.
“I think it’s a great move by USA Volleyball,” Lee said. “He’s had so much success already, winning World League and World Cup. I think we are going to be very successful in the future with him as the head coach.”
Three-time Olympian Reid Priddy agreed: “John has brought a lot to the program. He’s tremendously motivated, smart and surrounds himself with great people.
“I think this sets up the U.S. for continuity. We’ve had players stay in the system for a long time, but we really haven’t had a coach stay. I think that’s really important. I think the coach is extremely important in volleyball. I really think this is a great move.”
Speraw joined the U.S. Men’s staff as a part-time assistant in 2007 under then Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon. In 2008, he was an assistant coach with the U.S. Men at the Olympic Games in Beijing where they won the gold medal.
In 2012, Speraw returned as the assistant coach for the FIVB World League and filled in as head coach for four overseas, pool play matches while then head coach Alan Knipe was dealing with a family emergency. The U.S. Men went on to win the silver medal in the FIVB World League Final Round.
Speraw assisted Knipe at the 2012 Olympic Games in London where the U.S. Men placed fifth.
In 2004, Speraw served as head coach of the U.S. Men’s Junior National Team that won the silver medal at the NORCECA Men’s Junior (U-21) Continental Volleyball Championship and the team that placed sixth at the 2005 FIVB Junior World Championship. He served as an assistant for the U.S. Boys’ Youth National Team (1998 and 2001), the World University Games Team (1997 and 1999) and the Pan American Games Team (1999, 2007).
Before becoming head coach at UCLA, Speraw was the head coach at UC Irvine for 10 seasons and transformed the program into a national power. Under his direction, the Anteaters won three NCAA Men’s National Collegiate Volleyball Championship titles and advanced to the NCAA Championship four times, won two Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) regular season titles and a pair of MPSF Tournament championships.
In 2008, Speraw received a Pillar Award, which showcases outstanding achievement in ethical leadership at the12th Annual Ethics in America Awards. 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 Olympic Games.
Prior to UCI, Speraw served in various roles with the UCLA men’s volleyball program for 12 years. He played middle blocker for the Bruins from 1992-95 and was a member of two national championship teams. He was named to the NCAA All-Tournament team in 1995 when he had 11 kills and eight blocks in the championship victory over Penn State.
Speraw became a volunteer assistant coach with the Bruins before assuming a full-time assistant position in 1998. He graduated from UCLA in 1995 with a bachelor of science degree in microbiology and molecular genetics.
Speraw married his wife, Michelle, in 2014 and the couple had daughter named Brooklyn in 2015.