Kniffin returns to alma mater for head job
David Kniffin begins his second season as an assistant coach at Illinois. Kniffin played a huge role in the Illini's run to the championship match of the NCAA tournament in 2011.
Kniffin brought with him insights from both the men's game and the west coach which were crucial in both scouting and training in 2011. Colleen Ward and Michelle Bartsch each earned All-American honors in his first year.
Kniffin spent five seasons as an assistant coach for the UC-Irvine men's program. He was named the AVCA Assistant Coach of the Year in 2010.
In his five years at Irvine, the Anteaters posted a 96-52 record, advanced to the post-season each year and won two NCAA national titles -- in 2007 and 2009. UCI was nationally ranked each of those five seasons, spending 12 weeks at No. 1. Under Kniffin's tutelage, setters Brian Thornton and Ryan Ammerman were named first-team AVCA All-Americans. Ammerman was also named the NCAA Tournament MVP
Kniffin graduated from UC-Irvine with a bachelor's degree in philosophy and has been purusing an advanced degree. A starting setter for the 2002 and 2003 Anteater teams, he holds the single-season school assist record after amassing 1,632 in 2003. Kniffin earned UCI Scholar-Athlete and MPSF All-Academic honors.
Beginning with his years as a player and continuing on the coaching staff, he has seen the UCI program rise to national prominence. During his senior season, the Anteaters earned the school's first No. 1 ranking.
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.
Kniffin's connection to volleyball has taken him around the globe. He helped manage the 2010 World League Finals (six top National Teams) hosted in Cordoba, Argentina, in July. He also helped establish the only annual professional volleyball event in the United States, which has been held on the UC-Irvine campus the past two years in October.
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.