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Coach aims to lift UCI

VOLLEYBALL: Once a legend on the court, Weishoff believes Anteaters can earn place among nation’s elite.

December 11, 2008|By Barry Faulkner

IRVINE — Newly hired UC Irvine women’s volleyball coach Paul Weishoff, formally introduced on campus Wednesday, made several references to getting the players on board when discussing her immediate to-do list.

But John Speraw, the Anteaters men’s coach and the school’s director of volleyball who was integral to the hiring process, said Weishoff’s arrival is more about creating a bow wave.

“She was definitely a no-brainer hire,” said Speraw, who guided the UCI men to the 2007 NCAA title and helped the U.S. men’s national team win gold at the Beijing Olympics last summer. “We knew what we wanted to do and we didn’t mess around. We wanted to move on this as quickly as possible and we wanted to make a splash in the volleyball community. We wanted to let people know that Irvine is going to be a national player. We’re going to compete for national championships in men’s and women’s volleyball in the future and we wanted to hire Paula before anyone else in the United States of America could fill [their coaching openings].”

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Speraw said when Charlie Brande let him know in October that he would be retiring after nine seasons at the helm, he quickly met with Athletic Director Mike Izzi and Senior Women’s Administrator Paula Smith to outline a plan of attack for lining up a replacement.

“We knew Paula [Weishoff, who was the NAIA Coach of the Year in 2008 after guiding Concordia University of Irvine to a runner-up finish at the national tournament completed Saturday in Iowa] was the best candidate and would potentially be a candidate for a lot of different programs and we wanted to be the first one in,” Speraw said. “The first step in our plan was to talk to Paula Weishoff and that’s what we did. We’re grateful it all worked out.”

Weishoff, a three-time Olympian who was part of three NCAA championship teams as a player and assistant coach at USC, said Wednesday there is still much to be worked out, since she only finalized her decision to take over at UCI upon returning to her Huntington Beach home on Sunday.

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