Men's Volleyball's Hunt Helps Team USA Qualify for World Championship
May 20, 2014
MALIBU, Calif. - Over the weekend, Pepperdine men's volleyball assistant coach David Hunt was given the reins of the U.S. Women's National Team as they battled at the NORCECA World Championship Qualification Tournament at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. Team USA was dominant, posting four shutout victories to punch its ticket into the 2014 FIVB World Championship.
Hunt has coached several USA Volleyball teams of all age groups, but this was his first time as head coach of a senior national team. Last summer, Hunt traveled overseas to assist Gary Sato with coaching the Japan men's national team.
"Overall I thought it was a great experience at the Olympic Training Center. Any time you have a chance to represent the United States you have to be pretty fired up," said Hunt upon returning to California. "That was one thing I realized being in Japan. The coaching experience there was awesome, but there is a whole added element knowing that you are representing the United States. It wasn't something that I fully grasped until I went overseas."
Head U.S. Women's National Team coach Karch Kiraly assembled a group of 12 players, comprised mostly of recently graduated college standouts, and appointed Hunt to lead them in Colorado Springs.
Team USA opened action at the qualification tournament last week Thursday, and put away a three set (25-10, 25-18, 25-11) decision over Guatemala. The Red, White and Blue continued to dominate and did not drop a single frame en route to the finals. The United States defeated Panama 25-18, 25-5, 25-5 in a lopsided title match on Sunday.
"For many of the women on the squad, it was their first time representing the U.S. at the senior team level," explained Hunt. "It was neat to be a part of that experience with them and I really have to thank Coach Kiraly for the opportunity.
"Karch has done such an amazing job establishing a culture of success in the gym. He has created an environment of learning and growth that is second to none and he takes great pride in what the program is trying to accomplish," continued Hunt. "It was truly a privilege to be invited by him into the gym and let me take part in that culture and experience. I feel honored that he thought I was a good fit to take this team to the qualification tournament. The whole staff did a great job training this group during the winter training block and I am humbled by their faith in me."
Although Hunt has perhaps more experience coaching men's volleyball, the transition to the women's game was seamless.
"A few people have asked me about the differences in coaching men and women," Hunt said. "To be honest, I never thought about it. Not once during training or competition did I think `I am coaching women now, I have to do this differently or that differently.' One thing that Coach (Marv) Dunphy has taught me is that coaching is all about people and relationships. As a coach you are trying to build relationships of trust and I don't think that is gender specific. Each team is different and each player is unique. You have to be cognizant of that and adjust accordingly."
The 2014 FIVB World Championship will take place in Italy on Sept. 23-Oct. 12.