Jeff Nygaard Named USC Men's Volleyball Head Coach|
June 4, 2015
Jeff Nygaard, a 3-time Olympian in indoor and beach volleyball and a 2-time collegiate MVP while playing on a pair of NCAA championship teams, has been named the head coach of the USC men's volleyball team after serving the past 5 seasons as a Trojan assistant, USC athletic director Pat Haden announced today (June 4).
"We are delighted to name Jeff as our head coach," said Haden. "As we researched candidates, we sought input from a wide spectrum of the volleyball community, including at the highest levels of USA Volleyball and collegiately, as well as with our men's volleyball alumni. We consistently heard Jeff's name come up and how highly he is regarded.
"He is an outstanding X's and O's coach who is well respected by his peers for his volleyball knowledge and coaching ability. He is of high character and comes strongly endorsed by our current and recent student-athletes. He has experience at USC, which will help him hit the ground running as he puts together a coaching staff and starts recruiting. And, most importantly, he has a keen desire and passion to lead us to national championships. We look forward to him returning the Trojans to that level."
Said Nygaard: "I am humbled and thrilled to accept this amazing opportunity, and I am excited about USC's future. We will take the groundwork that has been put down here in the past and take it to a championship level, which is where USC's heritage is and where it belongs. That is my goal moving forward."
Nygaard, 42, replaces Bill Ferguson, who was USC's head coach the past 9 years before it was announced on May 8 that he would not return.
Nygaard said he will name his assistant coaches in the near future.
Nygaard takes over a USC program that has won 4 NCAA championships (1977-80-88-90) and made 14 NCAA Final Four appearances in its history. It has produced 18 Olympians, 34 All-American first teamers and 7 College Players of the Year.
Nygaard coached USC's middle blockers in his 5 seasons (2011-15) as Ferguson's lead assistant. During that span, Troy played in a pair of NCAA Final Fours, won 2 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation regular season titles and posted an 88-48 (64.7%) overall mark.
The 2015 Trojans went 19-9 overall, placed fourth in the MPSF, advanced to the MPSF Tournament semifinals and finished with a No. 7 national ranking.
Before coming to USC, Nygaard was a volunteer assistant coach with the UCLA men's team for 3 seasons (2002-04). He spent 2009 as an assistant women's coach at Whittier.
He has been involved with USA Volleyball, serving as an assistant with the Pan American men's indoor team in 2010, as head coach at the USA High Performance Clinic (Iowa/Midwest Region) for indoor women since 2010 and on staff with the Elite Development Program on the beach since 2013.
The 6-8 Nygaard was a middle blocker on the U.S. National Team from 1993 to 2000 and represented the U.S. in 3 Olympics. He was a member of the indoor team at the 1996 and 2000 Olympics and teamed with Dain Blanton on the beach in the 2004 Olympics. He also helped the U.S. win a bronze medal at the 1994 World Championships.
He played indoors professionally in Greece (1996-97), Croatia (1998), France (1999) and Turkey (2007). He also played on the 1999 and 2001 Los Angeles Athletic Club teams that won the U.S. Men's Open national titles.
Nygaard played on the pro beach tour from 2001 to 2011, winning AVP MVP honors in 2003 when he and Blanton were named AVP Team of the Year. He won 7 AVP tourneys and an FIVB event, with nearly $500,000 in career earnings. He captured a beach tourney for 4 consecutive years (2002-05), including an AVP-best 3 victories in 2003.
As a 4-year (1992-95) starter at UCLA, Nygaard was the first collegiate men's player to be named National Player of the Year in 2 consecutive seasons when he did so in 1994 and 1995. He was also the National and Conference Freshman of the Year in 1992. He was a 3-time (1993-95) All-American and All-Conference first teamer. He helped the Bruins to the 1993 NCAA title, setting an NCAA tourney record by hitting .867 in the semifinals and earning NCAA All-Tournament co-MVP honors. In 1994, he set UCLA season records with 650 kills while averaging 6.98 kills per match as the Bruins advanced to the NCAA championship match, where he made the NCAA All-Tourney team. The 1995 UCLA team won the NCAA title while posting a 31-1 record (going undefeated in league play) and he was named NCAA All-Tournament MVP. His 123 career aces set a school record.
He received his bachelor's degree in English from UCLA in 1995 and began work on his master's in English at Whittier.
He helped La Follette High in Madison, Wisc., to the 1987 and 1989 state championships and a runner-up finish in 1988.
Nygaard was born on Aug. 3, 1972. He and his wife, Renee, have 2 daughters, Sophia, 8, and Elena, 5, and a newborn son, Alexander.