Men’s volleyball program selects interim head coach

Assistant coach Andy Read will serve as interim head coach of the Long Beach State men’s volleyball team, athletics director Vic Cegles announced Monday.

Read fills in for Alan Knipe, who is taking a leave of absence to serve as the USA National Team head coach through the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

“Andy is the right guy to fill in for Alan,” Cegles said in a press release. “He understands the program, he knows the kids and he is a highly respected coach. Under Andy’s guidance, the program will continue to flourish.”

Read’s primary duty as an assistant was working with setters, having guided past 49ers Chris Seiffert and Tyler Hildebrand to All-America honors.

“Being the head coach at Long Beach State is the coaching opportunity of a lifetime,” Read said. “There is no better place for men’s volleyball than right here.”

Read’s experience on the international stage came prior to the 2004 season at the World University Games in Korea, where he coached former LBSU players David Lee, Scott Touzinsky and Hildebrand to a bronze medal.

He has also coached USA Developmental Teams, including seven players that were part of the gold medal-winning U.S. squad in last year’s Beijing Olympics. Read headed the U.S. Junior National team in summer 2001, which included former ‘Niners Jeff Wootton and Touzinsky.

He will take a group of rising young players to Italy later this summer to compete in the FIVB Boys’ Youth World Championship.

“There are guys that I’m currently coaching that could be Olympians in eight years,” Read said.

He spent the past 13 seasons as Knipe’s assistant after serving time as UC Irvine’s head coach from 1992-96. Prior to his time with the Anteaters, Read was an assistant on a Pepperdine Waves squad that captured the 1992 NCAA National Championship.
The 49er men finished last season going 14-14 overall, which includes an 11-11 mark in Mountain Pacific Sports Federation action.

Read inherits a senior-laden team next season that includes All-American opposite Dean Bittner and middle blocker Dan Alexander, who bagged All-America honors in 2008. He will also have the services of middle blocker Jim Baughman, who was an MPSF All-Freshman Team selection.

“There are some key seniors who get one more shot [at a national championship],” Read said. “We want to be a high caliber team that people will want to come watch.”

The Biola University alum will continue to juggle coaching duties along with his position as a science teacher at Westminster High School.

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