Sunday, September 23

John Speraw extends contract to coach Team USA through 2020 Olympics


UCLA men's volleyball coach John Speraw was an assistant coach for team USA when it won gold at the Beijing Olympics. In 2013, he was promoted to head coach of the entire U.S. men's national team program. (Mackenzie Possee/Daily Bruin)

UCLA men's volleyball coach John Speraw was an assistant coach for team USA when it won gold at the Beijing Olympics. In 2013, he was promoted to head coach of the entire U.S. men's national team program. (Mackenzie Possee/Daily Bruin)


It’s tough enough coaching one big volleyball program, but John Speraw will be pulling double duty for another four years.

USA Volleyball announced Wednesday that Speraw agreed to a four-year contract extension that runs through the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

“It’s incredible to be able to represent your country,” Speraw said. “Coaching Team USA and UCLA are, in my opinion, two of the top-five jobs you can have in volleyball. And for me to be able to do both, it’s an indescribable honor.”

The 1995 UCLA graduate has been with USA Volleyball since the very beginning.

“My official coaching start was with USAV,” Speraw said. “Al Scates was the head coach of the World University Games in 1997 and, being under him, that was my very first official coaching job.”

After a couple more years of working with USAV, Speraw stepped away to focus on collegiate volleyball. But he would soon be back.

Speraw joined the U.S. Men’s National Volleyball Team staff as an assistant coach in 2007 and, in 2008, that squad would go on to win gold at the Beijing Olympics.

Speraw’s first short stint as a head coach came in the 2011 Pan American Games in which a very young U.S. team finished fifth.

During the following Olympics in 2012, Alan Knipe was the head coach and Speraw was once again an assistant. However, the great success found in 2008 was not replicated. Team USA finished fifth after winning its pool.

Eventually, Speraw found himself at the helm for four pool play matches during the 2012 FIVB World League. The U.S. men would go on to win silver in the final round.

After all the positional shifting, Speraw was named head coach of the entire U.S. men’s national team program in 2013.

Since then, the United States has brought home the 2014 World League championship and the 2015 World Cup title.

Through this success, Team USA has clinched a berth for the upcoming Olympics in Rio de Janeiro this summer.

Coaching two high-level volleyball teams is a gargantuan task for anyone, but Speraw has proven that he can handle the feat. And it’s apparent through UCLA’s full support that everyone around him trusts that he can continue his amazing work.

Before being named as the head coach of the U.S. men’s national team, Speraw was hired as UCLA’s coach. And he gives credit to UCLA Athletics for being so supportive of his Olympic endeavors.

“(UCLA Athletic Director) Dan Guerrero has been incredibly supportive from the very first time this came up,” Speraw said. “He thought it would be an amazing opportunity and he knew it would be great for my own growth as a coach, which would benefit UCLA in the long run.”

Speraw will be the first person to head Team USA in back-to-back summer Olympics since Doug Beal in 2000 and 2004.

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Assistant Sports editor

Sugimura currently heads the men's soccer, women's basketball and women's swim and dive beats. He has been in the Sports section since 2015 and previously covered women's volleyball and men's volleyball.


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