IRVINE, Calif. -- David Kniffin, who formerly served as an assistant coach for the Anteaters, was named head men's volleyball coach at UC Irvine Monday.
Kniffin returns to his alma mater after serving one year as an assistant coach with the women's volleyball program at Illinois.
"We are very excited to have David Kniffin back with the Anteater family," UCI Athletic Director Michael Izzi said. "David's deep passion for UC Irvine and the men's volleyball program is what ultimately made him the right choice to continue the success the program has achieved. The program is in good hands with David Kniffin."
Kniffin helped guide the Illini women to the championship match of the NCAA tournament in 2011 for the first time in school history. While at Illinois, he was instrumental in the implementation of training, scouting and game management.
"I have had two great and distinct mentors in my time as a collegiate coach," Kniffin said. "John Speraw came in my senior season at UC Irvine and allowed us to be the team we knew we could be. Kevin Hambly (Illinois) facilitated my journey as I learned about the coach I wanted to be. I am appreciative of both and looking forward to building upon the Championship culture at UC Irvine."
Kniffin spent five seasons (2007-2011) as an assistant coach with the men's program at UC Irvine, earning American Volleyball Coaches Association Division I-II Men's National Assistant Coach of the Year accolades in 2010.
While Kniffin was a member of the UCI staff, the Anteaters advanced to the post-season each year, winning national titles in 2007 and 2009. In his five years at UCI, the program posted a 96-52 record and was nationally ranked each of those five seasons, including 12 weeks at No. 1.
"I believe in the experience we provide at UC Irvine," Kniffin continued. "Our student-athletes learn from world class professors, are trained by a great staff, and when the day is done, our athletes take the short drive home to Newport Beach and watch the sunset."
"We have the coaches, departmental staff, and resources to sustain our Championship tradition and give these young men the career direction they should expect from a collegiate program."
Kniffin graduated from UC Irvine with a bachelor's degree in philosophy in 2003. He was the starting setter for the 2002 and 2003 teams, guiding UCI to the school's first No. 1 ranking and first Mountain Pacific Sports Federation post-season victory as a senior. He ranks fifth in UCI career assists (2,806) and posted the second-most single-season assists (1,632) in 2003. Kniffin earned UCI Scholar-Athlete and MPSF All-Academic honors during his Anteater career.
Following graduation, Kniffin played professionally for CAI Voleibol Teruel (Spain) for two seasons, helping the team to the division championship one year, while teaching English and helping organize European Tours for American volleyball players looking to compete abroad.
A graduate of Chico (Calif.) High School, Kniffin began his playing career at Loyola Marymount until the program was dropped following the 2000 season. He transferred to Los Angeles Pierce College and started on the undefeated state-championship team in 2001, garnering first-team all-league honors.
"This is the only job in America that could have pulled me away from the culture and promising future of Illinois volleyball," Kniffin added. "The confidence of the players, administration, alums, and the amplified investment of the University in the men's volleyball program have been overwhelming. I am honored by the opportunity to carry the torch as we expand on our Championship foundation."
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