Kevin Hambly guided Illinois to the national championship match in 2011.
Feb. 10, 2012
Champaign, Ill. - Illinois head volleyball coach Kevin Hambly and the University of Illinois have agreed to a contract extension that keeps Volleyball Magazine's National Coach of the Year in Champaign through January 31, 2017.
"I believe Coach Hambly is one of the top volleyball coaches in the country," Illinois Director of Athletics Mike Thomas said. "With Kevin, our teams have succeeded at the highest level on the court as well as in the classroom. He has developed a family-oriented culture and positive environment that is unparalleled in the game. Our volleyball team wins with class. Under Coach Hambly's leadership, we will compete annually for our ultimate goal and that is to win national championships."
Hambly has posted a record of 82-20 in his three years as head coach at Illinois, including a 32-5 mark in 2011. Only three Illinois teams in history won more than 32 games, in a season. The Simi Valley, Calif., native guided the Illini to their first Final Four in 23 years and third in school history and to the school's first ever appearance in an NCAA title game.
Counting his years as an assistant, Hambly has spent eight years in all at Illinois, and in a short time, he has built the Illini into one of the elite teams in the country through strong recruiting, including this year's freshman class, which was ranked third in the nation. This year's Illinois team had a total of 11 players ranked in the top 60 of their respective recruiting classes, including Colleen Ward and Michelle Bartsch, who were ranked No. 7 and No. 16, respectively, in the Class of 2008. In addition, Anna Dorn was ranked sixth in the Class of 2010 and Liz McMahon was No. 3 in the Class of 2011.
That has translated to success on the court. This season, the Illini spent four weeks at No. 1 in both the AVCA and Volleyball Magazine polls, the first time the Illini reached that pinnacle, swept the season series from four-time defending national champion Penn State for the first time in school history and earned the No. 3 national seed in the NCAA Tournament. Illinois has been ranked as a top-nine national seed in the NCAA Tournament the last four years, each time making the Sweet 16 round of the event. The Illini have also finished second in the Big Ten in each of his three years as head coach.
Under his tutelage, the Illinois program has produced seven players who have amassed 12 All-America honors - Johannah Bangert, Bartsch, Jessica Belter, Laura DeBruler, Hillary Haen, Erin Virtue and Ward.
Hambly, who was an All-American as a player at BYU, graduated with high honors from the University of Illinois in 2006 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Recreation, Sport and Tourism.
"My wife, Mary, and I are both U of I graduates, feel at home in the Champaign-Urbana area and appreciate the tremendous support of this community," Hambly said. "The fact that Mike Thomas and (Associate Athletic Director) Vince Ille would like to keep us around for several more years is humbling and exciting. I look forward to the challenge of continuing to try and reach the vision we have established and feel fortunate to have an administration committed to that vision as well."