Mark Cruz, a former player under Turhan Douglas with high school and club coaching experience, is in his fourth season on the USC men's volleyball staff. He is in his second year as a team manager after spending the previous 2 seasons (2003-04) as an assistant coach.
Cruz, 29, came to USC in 2003 from Hart High in Newhall (Calif.). He coached the girls' varsity in 2002, the boys' freshmen in 2002 and the girls' freshmen in 2000 and 2001 (they were league champions both seasons).
Before that, he was at Highland High in Palmdale (Calif.)--his alma mater--where he was as assistant with the girls' varsity for 4 seasons (1996-99), as they won the league title each year, and the boys' varsity in 2000.
He guided Palmdale's Juniper Intermediate School boys' team to the league crown in 1995.
On the club level, he was the head coach of the girls' 18 team for the Synergy Volleyball Club in Santa Clarita (Calif.) in 2003-04 and their girls' 16 team in 2002, the girls' 14 squads for the Santa Clarita Athletic Club in 2000 and 2001 and the boys' 16 team for the Santa Monica (Calif.) Beach Club in 2000.
He played for Douglas at Pierce Junior College in Woodland Hills, Calif., for 2 seasons (1998-99), leading the team in aces and digs as a defensive specialist. Pierce was the state runner-up in 1999.
He played volleyball for 4 years (1992-95) at Highland High. His 1994 team was the CIF runner-up in 1994.
He is working on his bachelor's degree in liberal studies at The Master's College in Newhall (Calif.), with hopes of becoming a teacher.
Born on March 27, 1976, he is single.