Hugh McCutcheon, the current Team USA women’s volleyball head coach, has been named head coach of the University of Minnesota Women’s Volleyball Program, Director of Athletics Joel Maturi announced Thursday.
McCutcheon will continue to fulfill his current obligations with USA Volleyball and join the Gophers as their full-time head coach at a mutually agreed upon date in the future. Current Minnesota assistant coach Laura Bush, who has twice been a Division I head coach during her career, will serve as the interim head coach at this time while McCutcheon is with the U.S. Women’s Volleyball Team.
“I’m honored and excited to coach the Women’s Volleyball program at the University of Minnesota,” said McCutcheon. “This is a wonderful opportunity, both personally and professionally, and I hope we can continue the team’s strong history of success.”
McCutcheon, 41, takes over for Mike Hebert, who retired in December after going 381-125 and leading the Gophers to three Final Fours (2003, 04, 09), an appearance in the National Championship match in 2004 and a Big Ten title in 2002.
“I would like to thank Mike Hebert for the tremendous work he did to raise our volleyball program to one of the elite in the nation,” said Maturi. “When Mike announced his retirement we knew that we would have huge shoes to fill. We wanted to make sure we hired someone who could continue to keep Golden Gopher Volleyball among the best programs in the nation. With the hiring of Hugh McCutcheon, we feel like we accomplished that goal in a big way.
“Hugh is one of the top coaches in the nation and is as respected as any coach in the volleyball community. We are extremely excited to welcome Hugh, his wife Wiz, and their son Andrew, to the Golden Gopher family.”
McCutcheon recently finished his second year as head coach of the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team, in which he helped the team collect medals in three of four tournaments. Team USA finished the 2010 season with a 28-13 record – a 10-match improvement in the victory column from the previous year. The U.S. won the FIVB Grand Prix Tournament in August, 2010, claimed the silver medal at the Montreux Volley Masters and the bronze at the Pan American Cup in June 2010. The 2010 season was capped by a fourth-place finish at the FIVB World Championship.
Through his first two years, McCutcheon has led Team USA to a 46-27 record, despite transitioning to new techniques employed by him and his staff. In addition, McCutcheon brought in over 50 players for evaluation, with more than half going on to be part of an international trip representing the USA.
In his first year leading the squad, McCutcheon was able to evaluate 30 players in international competitions, along with training several other players who were new or returning to the program. With the mix of youth and veterans, Team USA finished 2009 with an 18-14 record and provided vast experience for a young roster.
The squad qualified for the 2010 FIVB World Grand Prix and 2010 FIVB World Championship based on results in 2009. The U.S. won the FIVB World Championship – NORCECA Group G third-round pool to advance to the FIVB World Championship at the end of 2010.
Less than four months after leading the U.S. Men’s Olympic Volleyball Team to a gold medal at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing en route to being named the 2008 USOC National Coach of the Year, McCutcheon accepted the head coach position of the U.S. Women’s National Team for the 2009-2012 Olympic quadrennial.
As the head coach of the U.S. Men’s National Team at the 2008 Olympic Games, McCutcheon and Team USA went undefeated in Beijing to claim its third Olympic Games gold medal and its first podium finish since 1992. He compiled a 107-33 record in four years with the U.S. Men’s National Team program, which ended 2008 ranked second in the FIVB World Ranking.
The U.S. Men’s National Team enjoyed one of its best seasons ever in 2008 under McCutcheon’s guidance as the team won all three of its major tournaments of the year. Team USA secured its first-ever FIVB World League championship in July 2008 after a bronze medal finish in the same event in 2007, the first time the Americans earned back-to-back medals in the annual event. The U.S. started the 2008 campaign in dominating fashion by sweeping all five matches at the NORCECA Men’s Continental Olympic Qualifier to earn its berth in the 2008 Olympics.
McCutcheon started coaching the men’s team in 2005. That season, the U.S. Men’s Team flourished in going 27-6 and winning five medals in five tournaments. The team earned a silver medal at the USOC International Sports Invitational in San Diego, Calif., gold medals at the Americas’ Cup in Brazil, the FIVB World Championship Qualifying Tournament in Puerto Rico and the NORCECA Continental Championship in Canada and another silver medal at the FIVB World Grand Champions Cup in Japan.
McCutcheon, a former Brigham Young University assistant coach, joined USA Volleyball as a full-time assistant coach for the men’s national team program in April 2003.
Prior to that, in the summers of 2001 and 2002, respectively, he served as a volunteer assistant coach for the men’s national team, helping out during the 2001 World League, the 2002 World Championships and on five international tours.
He has also served as the head coach of the U.S. Boys’ Youth National Team in 2000 and 2001. McCutcheon was the top assistant coach and recruiter for BYU men’s team from 1995- 2001 under head coach Carl McGown. During that time, the Cougars posted a record of 138-44 and captured two NCAA championships (1999 and 2001).
After leaving BYU, McCutcheon was the head coach of the Vienna Hotvolleys in Austria for two seasons. In his first season there, the Hotvolleys won the 2001-02 Inter-Liga, Austrian Cup and Austrian League championships. He also coached the first Austrian team to ever beat an Italian A1 opponent.
McCutcheon’s love for volleyball developed in New Zealand where he played on the junior and senior national teams from 1986-90 before coming to the United States. He was also a member of New Zealand’s national team in 1996 and represented his country on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour in 1997.
He played for BYU from 1991-1993 after transferring from the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. In 1993 he earned honorable mention All-America honors. In 1992 he earned Academic All-Conference honors from the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation.