Merrimack hires Hajjar as head coach
Hajjar returns to Warriors following stint with DIII Lesley
NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. -- Former Merrimack assistant coach T.J. Hajjar has been named head volleyball coach following former head coach Joey Pacis’ resignation.
Hajjar was an assistant coach for the Warriors from 2008-10, guiding Merrimack to its second-ever and second-straight NCAA Tournament selection in 2008.
“I never wanted to leave Merrimack in the first place but I had to take a head coaching opportunity when I had the chance,” said Hajjar of accepting the position at Merrimack. “We ended up winning the conference at Lesley and going to the NCAA Tournament for the first time ever, so to leave that behind is very hard, but to come back here where I feel very comfortable is great.”
Most recently, Hajjar was the head women’s volleyball coach at Division-III Lesley University, leading them to a 19-10 record, a conference title and the program’s first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance.
“We’re excited to welcome T.J. as our new head volleyball coach,” said Athletic Director Glenn Hofmann. “I want to thank Joey for all that he did as head coach and the team’s accomplishments under his leadership. He did a lot for the volleyball program, and we expect T.J. to work just as hard and continue the success Joey had.”
“The one great thing is that everyone on next year’s team was a part of the recruiting class when I was the assistant coach here,” said Hajjar. “I know the team here well, and it’s almost like coming home to finish what we started.”
Assistant coach Karen Harrington will remain on the staff, working with Hajjar for the 2011 season.
“Karen and I will work really well together to make something happen. Our first goal is to get back to the NCAA Tournament. This year’s recruiting class has to be impactful. We have five talented, returning players. What they bring to the table and their confidence will go a long way, but losing five starters, and quality players, is tough.”
Hajjar also runs tryouts as the Men’s Open Head Coach for the Baystate Games and works as a certified personal trainer for the Workout Club in Salem, NH. As a player, he earned three Bay State Games gold medals and two silver medals from 1998 to 2007. Hajjar continues to play volleyball regularly in A/AA level USA Volleyball local and national tournaments.
Hajjar's playing experience spans 13 years at a variety of levels with several accolades. Over the course of his playing career, Hajjar has earned five first-place finishes in outdoor tournaments, two Bay State Games Silver Medals, three Bay State Games Gold Medals, and a USA Men's Open Silver Medal in 2007.
In his eight seasons with Merrimack, Pacis became the all-time winningest coach in program history, finishing with a career 117-116 record. A two-time Northeast-10 Coach of the Year in 2007 and 2008, Pacis guided Merrimack to its first-two NCAA Tournament appearances, while reaching the NE-10 Championship in both seasons. He also produced the first All-American in school history in Molly Cindric (Westlake Village, CA) while her classmate Alyssa Pickert (Tinley Park, IL) was a two-time Northeast-10 Libero of the Year.
“After almost 11 years of service, the decision to leave was not easy,” said Pacis. “However, all of us coach knowing that it eventually has to end, and unfortunately, that day has come for me. I feel very fortunate to have been associated with Merrimack College Athletics, and leave with many pleasant memories and invaluable experience. I sincerely thank Glenn, the Athletic Department, and Merrimack College for the opportunities and knowledge I have gained during my tenure.”
Merrimack finished in eighth place in 2010 with a 12-14 overall record, 9-6 in the conference.