Entering the week, 10 Division I programs still had uncertainty surrounding their head coaching positions. On Tuesday, that number decreased by at least 1, as the Hartford Hawks announced Vinh Nguyen as their new head volleyball coach. Nguyen comes to the program after spending the 3 previous seasons as associate head coach for the University of North Texas (UNT). He becomes the 11th head coach in the 41-year history of the Hartford volleyball program.
“What excites me about the University of Hartford is that the program has everything it needs to be successful,” said Nguyen. “From the support of the athletic administration to the current members of our volleyball program, I am confident that the Hawks will triumph both off and on the court.”
Nguyen has a total of 21 seasons of collegiate coaching on his resume. His prior stops:
- North Texas – 3 seasons (plus 1 as a volunteer assistant)
- Cal State Fullerton – 6 seasons
- Cal Poly Pomona – 12 seasons
At UNT, he focused on training middle and pin hitters, arm swing development and offensive/defensive blocking systems. At Cal State Fullerton, he also worked with the offensive attack and coached two hitters to Big West Player of the Year awards, 3 to AVCA All-America honors, and in 2010 set a school-record .246 hitting percentage.
UNT had one of the best seasons in program history last year, going 29-4 overall and 13-1 in Conference USA play. They won their first-ever regular season conference title, but lost to Western Kentucky in the Conference USA Championship game to miss the NCAA tournament. Instead they went to the National Invitational Tournament, where they beat offensive powers Oral Roberts before TCU knocked them out in 5 sets in the 2nd round.
Hartford last season finished 6-20, including just 3-9 in the America East Conference – which left them in 6th place out of 7 teams. That was their 2nd-straight season with an identical record, and former head coach Mitch Kallick had just 14 wins in 3 seasons leading the program. Their last winning season (and only winning season since 1993) came in 2014, Alex Temkini’s last season as head coach, where they finished 17-13 overall.
Hartford only loses 1 player that had more than 50 kills from last season’s team – opposite Katy Henchy, who was 2nd in the team in scoring last season with 2.08 kills/set.
Nguyen also has high-performance experience with USA Volleyball, including working with the U.S. Men’s National Team in 2007, and having been involved with the USA High Performance Pipeline since 2003. As an athlete, he played volleyball at Mt. San Antonio College and Long Beach City College.