Wednesday, 7 June 2023

International Volleyball

Big hire: Texas gets UCLA’s Stein Metzger to be its beach volleyball coach

Big hire: Texas gets UCLA's Stein Metzger to be its beach volleyball coach

UCLA’s Stein Metzger and Peri Brennan during a match this season at USC/Mark Rigney photo

Everything is bigger in Texas.

Including the beach volleyball coaching hires.

Stein Metzger, the 2004 Olympian who built the UCLA program from scratch into a bona fide power, winning two NCAA championships, has taken the job as the head coach at Texas.

It may be one of the worst-kept secrets in beach volleyball, because Metzger told his UCLA team last week and word carried quickly. Texas, however, had to wait until all its due diligence was completed before announcing it Tuesday.

“I just think I’m the perfect person for this role,” Metzger said. “I’ve built something before and Texas has the resources to take this sport to another level. And I feel like I’m the guy to do it. It felt like it was calling me to do it.”

There is no doubt that Texas has the resources to build a top-notch facility and support the program fully. In a fast-growing sport, Texas — which traditionally plays before sold-out crowds for home indoor matches — is a sleeping giant.

“Like I told Stein, we’re going to change the landscape of beach volleyball, with the staff that we hire, the fans, the facilities, the locker rooms, the media attention, social content, TV,” said 23-year Texas indoors coach Jerritt Elliott, who will serve as director of volleyball operations, overseeing both programs.

“All the support and resources that we have for the athletes. It will be something that doesn’t exist at the collegiate side on a real high, high level. And I think we can build a fan base, because we already have it built in with ours.” 

UCLA’s Stein Metzger talks things over with Abby Van Winkle/Mark Rigney photo

Metzger, a self-proclaimed “volleyball nerd,” said he will start right away at Texas, where he’s heard directly from president Jay Hartzell and football coach Steve Sarkisian.

“I knew that people in Texas took their sports seriously, but this is just a whole ‘nother level,” Metzger said. “I’m blown away. 

“If I had know there was going to be this much support, welcoming and energy behind this, it would have made the decision even easier.”

The hardest part, once the decision was made, he said, was telling the Bruins.

“I like new experiences, but, man, it sure was tough to say goodbye to the team,” Metzger said. 

That team just lost in the title match of the NCAA’s National Collegiate Beach Championship to…

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