‘Minnesota is a perfect fit’
McCutcheon will take over program after 2012 Olympics
On Feb. 10, 2011, United States Olympic Coach Hugh McCutcheon was named head coach of the Golden Gopher women's volleyball program. Gophersports.com caught up with McCutcheon during the winter break. He and the rest of Team USA will prepare for 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Following the Olympics, McCutcheon will join the Gopher staff in September 2012.
Gophersports.com: There have been other collegiate coaching openings over the years. What led you to take the Minnesota position over other colleges?
This promises to be a very busy year for Hugh McCutcheon. Not that the U.S Olympic women’s volleyball coach hasn’t been runnin’ and gunnin’ the past few years.
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Hugh McCutcheon: There were three main things that impressed me with Minnesota, First, the people. It's a great athletic department and they are truly committed to volleyball and making the program the best it can be. Second, the facilities. It's an unbelievable environment for athletes to become the best they can be. Lastly, the university itself. It's a great school that provides a wonderful education for its students.
GS: You made a commitment to stay with USA Volleyball through the Olympics and Minnesota Director of Athletics Joel Maturi was able to push back your start date. Can you talk about the commitment the U of M has in you to start a year later?
HM: I will always be indebted to Joel for his support in this transition. Having the opportunity to finish the Olympic Quadrennial is really special and I thank Joel for allowing me to do it.
GS: After you were hired, you put in place a coaching staff. Can you talk about the three and how the transition period until you arrive?
HM: The three coaches that are currently with the program have done a phenomenal job. Laura's leadership, knowledge, and experience were critical. Alfee and Chris are both extremely talented and capable young coaches, and together they made a wonderful coaching staff. I could not have been happier with their performance.
GS: What are you looking forward to the most about this new chapter in your coaching journey?
HM: This (2012) will be my 11th season of International Volleyball and my third Olympic Games -- it's been an unbelievable experience. However, I'm ready for a change. There have been opportunities in the past to coach professional clubs in Europe, but I've always been drawn to the university environment and I'm a huge fan of college athletics. For me, both personally and professionally, coaching at Minnesota is a perfect fit.