John Speraw

John Speraw

    UCLA head men’s volleyball coach John Speraw, who has produced three NCAA titles and an Olympic Bronze medal finish as a head coach, has completed10 seasons at the helm in Westwood. During his collegiate coaching career he has been recognized as the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Coach of the Year, the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) Coach of the Year and the Volleyball Magazine Coach of the Year. In 2018, he was inducted into the Southern California Indoor Volleyball Association Hall of Fame. He also serves as the volunteer chairman of First Point Volleyball Foundation with the goal to grow the number of opportunities at every level, for men and boys to play sport of volleyball.
     Speraw was the first individual to win an NCAA MVB championship as a head coach (2007, 2009 and 2012 at UC Irvine), an assistant coach (1996, 1998, 2000 at UCLA) and as a player (1993 and 1995 at UCLA). He guided his Bruin teams into the NCAA semifinals in 2022, the National Championship match in 2018 and the national semifinals in 2016. He will enter the 2023 season with a 385-201 overall collegiate record.
     In 2022, the Bruins led the nation in hitting percentage (.374) while advancing to the NCAA Tournament. UCLA posted its most wins, 22, since 2018 and its fewest losses in a season, 5, since 2000. Setter Miles Partain became UCLA’s first MPSF Player of the Year since 2000 and led a group of three first-team NVA/AVCA All-America selections — Ethan Champlin and Merrick McHenry. The Bruins returned to the No. 1 spot in the AVCA poll for a nine-week run which was its longest stretch on top since a 13-week stay in 1995. Setter Partain, middle attacker McHenry and opposite Kevin Kobrine were each finalists for the national player of the year award at their positions.
     Speraw achieved milestone wins No. 100 at UCLA and No. 300 overall during the 2018 campaign. In addition, he led UCLA to the NCAA Championship match that season and to the most program wins (26) since 2006. recognized these achievements by naming Speraw its 2018 Coach of the Year. 
     Voted the 2006 AVCA Coach of the Year, Speraw was named head coach at UCLA in June of 2012 and has tutored 41 All-Americans in his career. He came to UCLA from UC Irvine where he led the Anteaters to three NCAA titles, two Mountain Pacific Sports Federation regular season titles (2006, 2009) and a pair of MPSF Tournament crowns (2007, 2012). He guided UCI to a 199-106 record in his ten seasons.
     Speraw has also enjoyed an extensive coaching resume with the U.S. Men’s National team. After serving as Assistant Coach for the 2008 (Gold in Beijing) and 2012 Olympic Games (advanced to the quarterfinals at London), Speraw was elevated to head coach of the U.S. Men’s Volleyball National Team in March of 2013. The U.S. qualified for the 2016 Olympic Games by winning the 2015 World Cup competition and went on to capture the Bronze medal at the Rio Games. In the summer of 2018, Speraw directed the U.S. Men’s National Team to its first FIVB World Championship medal in 24 years when it beat Serbia for the bronze in Turin, Italy. In December of 2021, he signed on to remain as the U.S. National Team coach through the 2024 Olympics in Paris.      
     The U.S. men qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Games (held in 2021 due to the pandemic) by winning their Intercontinental Qualifying Pool during the summer of 2019. Bruins Micah Ma’a (at UCLA from 2016-19), Mitch Stahl (2014-17) and Garrett Muagututia (2007-10) represented their country in that competition and were also part of the U.S. silver and bronze medal-winning efforts at the FIVB Volleyball Nations League and FIVB World Cup, respectively. Stahl and Muagututia went on to see action for the U.S. at the Tokyo Olympics.
     Speraw has coached UCLA to as high as No. 2 in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) polls in six of the past seven seasons with the Bruins elevating to the top spot in the AVCA national rankings during the 2022, 2016 and 2014 seasons.        
     The Bruin grad was named UCLA’s head coach on June 5, 2012. He assumed the duties of his collegiate mentor, Al Scates, and has been a part of eight NCAA men’s volleyball championship teams (1993-player; 1995-player;1996-asst. coach; 1998-asst. coach; 2000-asst. coach; 2007-head coach; 2009-head coach; 2012-head coach).         
     For 10 seasons prior to his return to Westwood, Speraw served as head coach at UC Irvine and transformed the program into a national power. Under his direction, the Anteaters won three NCAA titles (2012, 2009, 2007) in his final six years and advanced to the NCAA Championship match a total of four times. UCI won two MPSF regular season titles and captured a couple of MPSF Tournament championships. He had the Anteaters ranked as high as No. 1 in the nation in five different seasons.
     In 2021, the Bruins finished with a 15-6 mark and placed second in the MPSF. The attack was led by honorable mention All-America selections Cole Ketrzynski, McHenry and Sam Kobrine.Champlin was named a Freshman All-America selection. Ketrzynski ranked seventh nationally in aces (0.49) and eighth nationally in points per set (4.8). McHenry’s .423 hitting percentage was 12th in the nation. Kobrine rated eighth in the NCAA in set assists (10.34). The Bruin team ranked among the nation’s top five in set assists per set (2nd-12.5), kills per set (3rd-13.3), aces (5th-1.6) and hitting percentage (5th-.330).      
     In 2020, UCLA completed the virus-shortened campaign with a 10-9 mark. Daenan Gyimah earned first-team AVCA All-America honors for the third time and was selected the winner of the Ryan Millar Award as the nation’s top middle attacker for a third straight season. Setter Mads Kyed Jensen ranked fourth nationally in aces (0.60) and was a finalist for the National Server of the Year award. The Bruin team rated third in the country in service aces (1.9). Kyed Jensen and Ketrzynski were each picked to the Off the Block Freshman All-America team. 
     In 2019, the Bruins utilized 13 different starting lineups, while battling injuries, to finish second in the MPSF standings. Setter Micah Ma’a became the all-time school leader in service aces while setting a single-season record with 64 aces. Ma’a and Gyimah each earned first-team AVCA All-America honors for the second straight season. Gyimah won the Ryan Millar Award as the nation’s top middle attacker. Ma’a was named National Co-Server of the Year.    
     In 2018, Speraw was named the Men’s College Coach of the Year after leading his team into the NCAA championship match. UCLA finished 26-8, recording the most wins by the program since the 2006 championship campaign. The Bruins, who finished second in the MPSF, avenged a loss in the league championship contest at BYU by sending the No. 2-seeded Cougars home in an NCAA semifinal match. Earlier in 2018, he secured a pair of milestone victories including his 100th win at UCLA (vs. Penn St.) and his 300th career win as a head coach (vs. Ohio State). The 14-1 start to the season was the best by a Bruin team since the 2005 squad opened with wins in 15 of its first 16 matches. UCLA earned the No. 2 spot in the final AVCA Coaches poll. Ma’a and Gyimah, who was named winner of the Ryan Millar Award, each merited first-team All-America honors.    
    In a streaky 2017 campaign, Jake Arnitz and Mitch Stahl went on to earn first-team All-MPSF honors. Arnitz was a second-team AVCA All-America pick for the second straight season. The squad ranked in the top four in the country in hitting percentage, kills per set, set assists per set and service aces per set. However, UCLA could not find consistency around a pair of seven-match win streaks during the season and finished fifth in the MPSF.     
     The 2016 season saw UCLA return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since it had captured the 19th national title in the program’s history in 2006. The 25 wins were the most since that same season and the Bruins, who tied for second in the league during the regular season, advanced to the championship match of the MPSF Tournament and the national semifinals. Ma’a earned first-team AVCA All-America honors and Arnitz and Stahl were second-team selections. UCLA spent four weeks at number one in the polls during the season. The 10-0 start to the season was the best since 1998. The Bruins ranked among the nation’s Top 10 in aces/set, blocks/set, kills/set, set assists/set and hitting percentage.  
     In 2015, Speraw guided a Bruin team which featured four freshmen starters. JT Hatch earned MPSF Freshman of the Year honors and second-team All-MPSF accolades. He was joined on the All-MPSF Freshman team by Arnitz. Trent Kersten posted the ninth-best hitting percentage mark in the NCAA.    
      In 2014, Speraw’s Bruins peaked at No. 1 in the AVCA poll after winning the Outrigger Hotels Invitational and defeating then top-ranked Stanford. Injuries led to several lineup adjustments over the balance of the season and the team tied for fifth in the MPSF. Late victories down the stretch over Long Beach and BYU helped rally the team for post-season. However, the Bruins dropped a hard-fought five-setter at UC Santa Barbara in the opening round of the league tournament. Three players earned AVCA All-America recognition – Gonzalo Quiroga – 1st team; Spencer Rowe and Robart Page – Honorable Mention. Rowe repeated as a Capital One third-team Academic All-America selection.    
     In 2013, Speraw won his 200th career collegiate match, defeating UCSB on Jan. 4, 2013 in his first regular season match as coach at UCLA. Speraw guided the Bruins to an  21-11 overall record and a fourth-place finish in the rugged MPSF. Team accomplishments included a tournament championship at the Outrigger Hotels Invitational, league sweeps over rivals USC and Pepperdine and a first-round MPSF playoff victory — the Bruins’ first since 2006. Individually, UCLA produced a pair of AVCA All-Americans in first-team selection Quiroga and second-team choices Rowe and Evan Mottram. The three players also earned All-MPSF honors. In addition, Rowe became the first UCLA men’s volleyball player in 13 years to earn CoSIDA Academic All-America honors.    
     In the summer of 2014, Coach Speraw guided the U.S. men’s volleyball team to an upset win over top-ranked and three-time reigning World champion Brazil in the FIVB World League gold-medal match. Brazil had won gold or silver at each of the previous three Olympics. The U.S. finished with an overall record of 6-4, including three wins over teams ranked among the top six in the world.    
     Prior to his appointment as the U.S.’s head coach, Speraw enjoyed a wide variety of experience and success on the international level, including serving as an assistant coach with the U. S. Men’s National Team that captured 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. Speraw also served as assistant coach to Alan Knipe for the 2012 U.S. Men’s Olympic Team, which finished fifth after winning its pool. Earlier that year, he returned as the assistant coach for the FIVB World League and filled in as head coach for the 2012 World League team for four oversees pool play matches. The U.S. men won the silver medal in the FIVB World League Final Round.    
     Speraw joined the U.S. men’s staff in 2007, serving under Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon. After winning the gold medal, he worked with the U.S. men, as needed, including a stint as the head coach of a young team that finished fifth at the 2011 Pan American Games. In 2004, Speraw served as head coach of the U.S. Men’s Junior National Volleyball Team that took home the silver medal at the NORCECA Men’s Junior (U-21) Continental Volleyball Championship to qualify for the 2005 Championships. He also 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 and 2007).    
     In the collegiate ranks, Speraw directed UC Irvine to a 26-5 mark and their third NCAA Championship in 2012 before leaving to return to Westwood. In 2009, he guided UCI to a 27-5 overall record and finished the year ranked No. 1 in the country with the school’s second NCAA title. During the season, the Anteaters were ranked No. 1 for eight weeks, the most of any team in the nation that season. UC Irvine also captured the MPSF regular season title that year. In 2007, the Anteaters claimed their first national title, winning its initial MPSF tournament championship while ending the year with the No. 1 ranking and registering 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, MPSF and Volleyball Magazine Coach of the Year. He was a finalist for National Coach of the Year three times while at UCI. In 2006, the Anteaters claimed their first-ever regular season MPSF 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 in the nation for eight consecutive weeks.    
   Speraw, who compiled a 199-106 (.652) overall record at UC Irvine, 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 (Jayson Jablonsky). UC Irvine players earned All-America distinction 21 times during Speraw’s tenure at UCI, including nine first-teamers. While at Irvine, Speraw’s players also captured 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. Speraw, who had a team ranked No. 1 in five different seasons at UCI, placed the Anteaters in the Top 10 of the final rankings all but one year while at the helm.    
     In 2008, he received a Pillar Award, which showcases outstanding achievement in ethical leadership at the 12th 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 was on the Most Influential list his last four years at UCI, including the Sports Newsmaker of the Year in 2006.    
     Prior to his appointment at UC Irvine, Speraw was involved with UCLA’s program for 12 years as a player and assistant coach. He lettered four seasons as a middle blocker, was a member of two NCAA championship teams (1993, 1995), and earned NCAA All-Tournament honors for the Bruins in 1995. As a senior in ’95, he started 29 matches as the Bruins rolled to a 31-1 record and swept Penn State for their 15th NCAA title. In the final against the Nittany Lions, Speraw hit .625 (11-1-16) with eight blocks. For the tournament, he hit .586 (18-1-29). In his four-year career, Speraw produced at a .421 clip with 394 kills. He boasted a career blocking average of 1.3 bpg.    
     After earning his undergraduate degree in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics from UCLA in 1995, Speraw served three seasons (1996-98) as a volunteer assistant coach — while also working at the UCLA Hospital — before being elevated to a full-time position in the summer of 1998. He remained in that post until taking the UC Irvine job in 2002. Overall, he was involved with five NCAA title teams (1993, 95, 96, 98 and 2000) during his playing and coaching tenure at UCLA. John and his wife, Michelle, have two children, Brooklyn and Hailey.  

John Speraw

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