Most recently the top assistant at the University of Illinois, Dan Conners has been tapped to fill the UC Davis women’s volleyball team’s head coaching vacancy, created when Jamie Holmes resigned from the position last month.
Conners’ appointment marks a return to the Golden State for the Apple Valley native, who played on UCLA’s 2001 men’s squad that finished as national runner-up and coached Southern California college and club teams for nine years.
“I feel humbled and honored to have been given an opportunity to work with the young women of the Aggie volleyball program,” Conners said in a statement. “I’d like to thank (athletic director) Terry Tumey, (executive senior associate athletics director) Nona Richardson and the rest of the Aggie administration for the privilege of leading the women’s volleyball program with a vision of excelling in the classroom and on the court, in an effort to compete for the Big West Championship.”
Conners has served on the staffs at three elite women’s programs during the past eight seasons: Illinois, Nebraska and UCLA. In 2013, his second season with the Illini, he helped the team to an 18-15 season and a berth in the NCAA tournament. Illinois posted 10 victories against AVCA Top 25 programs that year.
Before arriving in Champaign, Conners enjoyed a one-year stint as a recruiting coordinator and defensive coordinator for former AVCA Coach of the Year John Cook at Nebraska, after serving five seasons under Bruin head coaches Andy Banachowski and Mike Sealy from 2006 to 10.
“We’re very fortunate to find a coach with Dan’s experience and expertise to lead our program,” said Tumey. “He’s coached at nationally renowned programs and has both a regional and national presence that will be a benefit to our program. We’re excited to have him join our athletics program and help our players succeed on and off the court.”
As a player, Conners totaled 125 assists as a reserve setter in 2001, shortly before graduating with a degree in political science. He was with the UCLA program when it won NCAA titles in 1998 and 2000.
Conners becomes the 10th head coach in UCD history, coming on the heels of Holmes, who guided the Aggies to 100 wins during a six-year tenure that included a 2009 Big West Conference Coach of the Year award.
Last fall, UCD went 14-15 overall and 6-10 in the Big West, while posting upsets over California and then-No. 8 Hawaii.