Press Release courtesy of South Carolina Athletics
South Carolina head volleyball coach Tom Mendoza announced Friday afternoon that Ethan Pheister will join the program as an assistant coach. Pheister spent the last three seasons as an assistant at LSU, working with the Tiger setters and helping coordinate the offense. He joins Shonda Cole, who will remain as an assistant for the Gamecocks, to complete the coaching staff as Mendoza begins his first spring leading the program.
“We are thrilled to welcome Ethan to the Gamecock Volleyball family,” Mendoza said. “Ethan is the right coach to round out our staff, and contributes to the culture we are working to build in our program. He is an elite trainer and is one of the top minds in our game from a scouting and analysis perspective. More importantly, he identifies well with the student-athletes, and has a teach-first mentality to their development both on and off the court. Ethan has proven that he can help a program reach success both on the SEC and national stage, and that experience will be invaluable in our gym.”
LSU turned itself around in 2017, going from nine wins in the previous season to 20 wins and an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. Pheister also had prior experience coaching in the SEC, spending the 2012 season at Arkansas and helping the Razorbacks make the national tournament.
Prior to Baton Rouge, Pheister was at Duquesne for the 2013 and 2014 seasons, helping the Dukes make the NCAA tournament for the first time ever in his first season.
“There are a lot of things that are exciting about what’s going on at South Carolina right now,” Pheister said. “The vision that Tom and Shonda have of what this program can be matches up with what I see as well. I’m really excited to be a part of that process and see where we can take this program. This is a team that’s on the precipice of taking that next step.”
His keen eye for running offenses stems from a standout career as a student-athlete at Ball State. He picked up three all-conference honors in his time as a Cardinal, and finished with over 4,000 career assists.
After his playing career at Ball State, he joined the University of Cincinnati’s coaching staff. The Bearcats finished the 2011 season at 27-10 overall, claiming the Big East Tournament title and making it to the second round of the NCAA tournament.
“A lot of my previous stops showed me what it takes to be successful at different levels,” Pheister said. “I’ve experienced success at the mid-major level as well as at the SEC level, and I have the mindset now of what kind of players and skills we’ll need to be successful.”
Outside of the college ranks, Pheister served as the club coach for the Munciana Volleyball Club and High Performance Volleyball Club in Missouri.
Pheister is engaged to Jen Vilkoski.