Women's Volleyball
Illini Hire David Kniffin As Assistant Coach

David Kniffin was an assistant coach on two UC-Irvine national championship teams.
David Kniffin was an assistant coach on two UC-Irvine national championship teams.

May 9, 2011

Champaign, Ill. - Illinois head coach Kevin Hambly has announced the hiring of David Kniffin as the new women's volleyball assistant coach.

Kniffin has spent the last five seasons as an assistant coach for the UC-Irvine men's program. In that span, 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 pursing 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.

"My attraction to this position was to be part of building something special," Kniffin said. "That was great to be a part of at Irvine, and Illinois is in position to do the same thing in the coming years. The biggest selling point, however, had less to do with volleyball. Kevin has helped create a great volleyball community here. The relationships that I noticed when I came to campus are something that transcends volleyball."

"As I was going through the hiring process and talking to people I trust about what I was looking for, Dave's name kept coming up," Hambly said. "After a few conversations with Dave I knew why. He has tremendous knowledge of the game; he will be a great tactician, scout, and trainer. He has been on staff for two national championships on the men's side and understands what it takes to get there. Those attributes are important, but what was as important to myself, Jen (Oldenburg) and the players was that Dave also fits culturally with the program. He demonstrated the same core values and wants to offer the same experience that the Illini program is working to offer. As we're looking forward to next season, I think Dave is the right person for that journey."

Kniffin replaces Kent Miller, who left to take the head coaching job at Saint Louis University.