The University of Nevada has hired Lee Nelson, a former Wolf Pack assistant coach and alum, as the head coach of the women's volleyball program, athletics director Doug Knuth announced today.
Nelson comes to Nevada after a strong three-year run as an assistant coach at the University of Miami where he helped lead the Hurricanes to three straight NCAA Tournament appearances. He previously served as a Wolf Pack assistant coach in 1999 and received his Master's degree from Nevada in history.
“I want to thank Doug Knuth, Rhonda Bennett and the entire hiring committee for offering me this tremendous opportunity to be the next head coach of Nevada volleyball,” Nelson said. “The values and principles embraced by the members of the Wolf Pack athletic department meshed so well with my own that I immediately felt at home and I look forward to reaching out and sharing them with the Northern Nevada volleyball community.
“I am excited to get to know the players and am looking forward to working with them as we set our goals and move forward both on the court and in the classroom.”
Nelson, 47, played collegiately at UC Santa Barbara from 1985-89 and helped the Gauchos to an appearance in the NCAA Championship match in 1988. He played professionally in Finland and The Netherlands before embarking on a coaching career that includes time at high school and club levels in addition to serving as an assistant coach for top men's and women's programs in the country.
“I am thrilled to hire Lee as our new head volleyball coach,” Knuth said. “Lee has played, recruited and coached at the highest levels of the sport. He is a man of great character and integrity who will instantly relate with our current players, recruits, parents and everyone who comes in contact with the volleyball program.
“As a Nevada alum, Lee is excited about returning to Reno and participating in the growth and vibrancy of Wolf Pack athletics, the University of Nevada and the Northern Nevada community. I couldn't be more excited to have Lee Nelson join our Wolf Pack family and begin the process of building our volleyball program.”
Prior to his three-year run at Miami (2012-14), Nelson was the associate head coach of the men's program at UCSB for four years, which included an appearance in the NCAA Championship match in 2011. That was his second stint with the men's program at UCSB, having worked there from 1997-99 as well.
Nelson also served as an assistant for the women's program at UCSB in 2011. Nelson has also coached at Fresno State and Santa Barbara City College in addition to coaching club volleyball and at the high school level in his career.
During his previous stint at Nevada, Nelson coached a number of all-conference selections including Kelli LaBossiere and Nevada Hall of Famers Suzanne Stonebarger and Michelle More
“I met a number of members of the Wolf Pack family and a recurring theme was how excited they were to be at Nevada,” Nelson said. “Their excitement was contagious and I can't wait to get back to Reno, roll up my sleeves and start working towards getting the Wolf Pack to the top of the Mountain West.
During his collegiate playing days, he was a teammate of Miami head coach Jose “Keno” Gandara. In 1989, he ranked third in the country in hitting percentage. Nelson was invited to the USA National Team tryouts in 1986 and 1989.
Nelson, a native of Santa Barbara, graduated from UCSB in 1991 with a bachelor's degree with a double major in history and environmental studies.
Season tickets for the 2015 Nevada volleyball season begin at $35 for youth and seniors and $50 for adults. For more information on tickets, visit NevadaWolfPack.com or call (775) 348-PACK.