Virginia has added another top coach to its list, hiring Dennis Hohenshelt to be the next Head Coach of the Volleyball program. Hohenshelt - whose name will undoubtedly cause me much aggravation over the coming years - replaces Lee Maes, who resigned after his fourth season at the helm.
Hohenshelt brings quite the pedigree with him to Virginia. Most recently he was Penn State's top assistant coach. For those of you unaware of how the volleyball world works, Penn State is one of the premier teams in the country. The Nittany Lions won four consecutive national titles from 2007-2010, all with Hohenshelt working with the team. This past season, PSU made it to the Sweet Sixteen before falling to eventual champion UCLA. The women's program had 199 wins to only 18 losses during Hohenshelt's time with them. That's very impressive.
In addition to working with the women's program at Penn State, he also spent ten years as an assistant to the men's program. Virginia does not currently have a men's program, nor does the ACC compete in men's volleyball as a conference.
On the surface, this appears to be a very solid hire. It continues the trend of Craig Littlepage and company bringing in rising head coaches or top assistant coaches to take over the helm of our non-revenue sports. Brian O'Connor (assistant at Notre Dame), Brian Boland (Head Coach at Indiana State), Steve Garland (assistant at Cornell). The list goes on. What Penn State accomplished with Hohenshelt helping guide them is unquestionable.
That said, one will have to forgive Virginia fans if they're a little hesitant to get too excited about the hire. Lee Maes arrived at Virginia with a similar set of credentials. He had been a top assistant at longtime volleyball power Nebraska before coming to Charlottesville. But that past performance never translated into successful seasons for the Wahoos at Memorial Gymnasium. Maes recruited well and several players received individual honors, but the Cavaliers couldn't make it to the top of the ACC.
Of course, its not at all fair to hold anything that happened during Maes's tenure against Hohenshelt. His credentials are superb and are exactly what I would expect Littlepage to find in a new leader for the program. So I, personally, am looking forward to seeing what he can do with the program.