NCAA Womens Volleyball

Van Niel Earns Frank Kush Coach of the Year Honor

Van Niel Earns Frank Kush Coach of the Year Honor

TEMPE – In the middle of June, every Sun Devil head coach casts their vote for the Sun Devil Coach of the Year in honor of Frank Kush.

The award – presented around the anniversary of Coach Kush’s passing (June 22, 2017) – is one way for each coach to recognize a peer that impressed them the most. There are no true guidelines for this honor; coaches can nominate someone who earned any honors, a coach who made an impression in their first year, or simply the nicest coach in the building. Once the nominations are in, one Sun Devil coach earns what one can consider the ultimate show of respect: an award from their peers in the 26-sport department. 

This year’s winner is a first-year head coach who led his squad to a historic season: JJ Van Niel of Sun Devil Volleyball.

“Most of our athletic department walks by the Frank Kush statue every day and it’s a constant reminder of the standard he set for Sun Devil athletics both on the field and in the community,” Van Niel said. “Receiving this award is a tremendous honor! It’s a privilege to be associated in any way with such a legendary figure in ASU athletic history. I am both flattered and humbled to be recognized by my talented and driven head coaching peers here at ASU. As all coaches know, these awards aren’t just about us; they are about the assistants, the staff and the players we are surrounded by, so this award is a celebration for them as well.”

Van Niel made history in his first season as a head coach by leading Arizona State to an incredible turnaround to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2015 and winning two matches for the first time in Sun Devil history to advance to the Sweet Sixteen. For his efforts, he was named the AVCA Pacific South Region Coach of the Year and the Pac-12 Coach of the Year. He also earned the Linda Vollstedt Coach of the Year award at Wings of Gold this spring.

The Sun Devils had a 28-7 record, which was the best record this century at ASU and the second-highest win total in program history. Additionally, Arizona State had a 14-6 Pac-12 record, which is the most conference wins in team history. The Sun…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at Arizona State University Athletics…