Momic Named Head Coach At Tulane
March 24, 2009
NEW ORLEANS - As the Tulane University Athletics Administration used a nation-wide search to find the next head coach its volleyball team, it needed only to look in its own backyard as Sinisa Momic was named head coach of the Green Wave, Director of Athletics Rick Dickson announced Monday.
After spending the last six seasons with the Green Wave in various assistant coaching roles, Momic becomes the eighth volleyball coach in Tulane history. He replaces Liz Kritza, who left the Green Wave to accept the head coaching job at Colorado in February.
"After a thorough search by our committee, which was chaired by Senior Associate Athletic Director/SWA Maria Woods, we are pleased to announce the hiring of Sinisa Momic as the head coach of our women's volleyball program," Dickson said. "He brings a life-long journey of experiences - both as a player and as a coach - at very high levels including the past four years as top assistant in the Tulane program.
"Sinisa has been a critical mainstay in recruiting, development and tactical game planning for our team and this continuity will afford us the greatest opportunity to continue the goal of achieving elite status with our women's volleyball program."
Momic came to Tulane midway through the 2002 season and served the latter portion of that year and all of the 2003 season as a volunteer assistant under then-head coach Betsy Becker. He became the team's second assistant in 2004, and when Kritza took over the program in 2005, Momic was tabbed the team's No. 1 assistant and recruiting coordinator. In that capacity, he was responsible for overseeing all aspects of player development, practice design and implementation as well as expanding Tulane's recruiting base.
Over the last four years as the top assistant and recruiting coordinator, Momic was responsible for successfully recruiting the bulk of the 2008 roster that helped the team go 26-8, win the Conference USA regular-season and tournament titles and advance to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history.
His recruits have gone on to rewrite the Tulane volleyball record book, including Sara Radosevic - who completed her career as the Green Wave's career leader in service aces (197) and kills per set (4.73) - Luna Rebrovic - who finished the 2008 season third in Tulane career assists (3,359) - and Bridget Wells - who whose 1,211 kills and 261 blocks rank 10th and 12th in Tulane history, respectively.
"Obviously, this is a great honor and I am grateful that people here at Tulane University considered me and are appreciative of what I've done for the last six years," Momic said. "I've invested six years here, starting here as a volunteer assistant, working as the second assistant and serving as the top assistant for Liz over the last four years. New Orleans is a home away from home for me and this has worked out great for me.
"I'm happy that I get to stay with my team keep working for them and with them, and continue recruiting for the program. I believe I have a clear picture of what needs to be done not only to keep this program where it is now, but stabilize it and keep it there every single year. We don't want to wait another four years to climb from the bottom to the top. I know what it took to get here and I know what it takes to stay here."
A native of Zagreb, Croatia, Momic has been able to open the international pipelines of recruiting to the Tulane program which helped land four stars on the 2008 Green Wave team. Radosevic and Rebrovic both hail from his home town, and Radosevic became the first player in Tulane history to claim C-USA Player of the Year honors in 2008 and was a four-time All-America selection by the American Volleyball Coaches Association.
In addition, Momic was able to land Kseninja Vlaksovic (Pozarevac, Servia) and Visnja Djurdjevic (Zitiste, Serbia) who claimed AVCA Midwest Region and C-USA Freshman of the Year honors in 2006 and 2008, respectively.
During his tenure at Tulane, the Green Wave have seen their hitters earn AVCA All-America honors in each of the last four years as Radosevic claimed the accolade in each of her four seasons in a Tulane uniform while Wells earned the distinction in both of her final two years with the Wave.
While Momic's collegiate coaching experience is limited to his time at Tulane, he brings a wealth of knowledge both as a player and a coach in his native land.
During his professional career, Momic helped his teams win the Croatian Championship and Croatian Cup four times. First breaking into the professional ranks at age16, Momic was a member of the Junior National Team for the former Yugoslavia in 1990, the Croatian Junior National Team from 1987-90 and the Croatian National Team in 1996.
Momic began his coaching career in 2000, serving as an assistant on the Mladost-Zagreb squad where he helped the team win both the Croatian Championship and the Croatian Cup in 2001. He also earned a coaching position on the 2002 Croatian Junior National Team where he helped the squad finish as one of the top 12 teams on the continent and qualify for the European Championship.
Momic graduated from The High School for Economics in 1993 and earned his degree from University of Kinesiology-Zagreb in 2000, where he received certification as a senior volleyball coach.
Momic comes from a family rich in volleyball tradition. His brother Sasa, who played for the Croatian National Team and continues to play professionally in Europe, was often a beach volleyball partner. His father, Slobodan Momic, has been involved in the sport in Europe for decades, including a stint as general secretary of the Croatia Volleyball Federation. He organized and planned the competition and training aspect of the team's 17-day excursion to Croatia in the summer of 2008, as the Green Wave barnstormed his native country playing club teams and national teams.
Momic is married to the former Lacey Vicknair, whom he met while both were playing for their respective men's and women's teams on the same professional volleyball club in Austria. After moving to Croatia, Vicknair's team went on to win the Croatian national championship.
Vicknair helped lead the Tulane women's basketball team to the NCAA Tournament from 1996-99 before turning her attention to volleyball where she lettered for the Green Wave squad in 1999 before turning professional.
Momic and the Green Wave volleyball team are in the midst of spring practice and will begin playing spring matches on April 4 in Houston, Texas. In addition, Tulane will host Kansas, New Orleans and Southern Miss in Fogelman Arena on April 11 and play at the LSU Tournament on April 25 in Baton Rouge.
TRANSACTIONS: Tulane University names Sinisa Momic head volleyball coach.
QUOTES FOLLOWING THE HIRING OF SINISA MOMIC AS TULANE'S VOLLEYBALL COACH
DIRECTOR OF ATHLETICS RICK DICKSON
On the hiring of Sinisa Momic as Tulane's head volleyball coach
"After a thorough search by our committee, which was chaired by Senior Associate Athletic Director/SWA Maria Woods, we are pleased to announce the hiring of Sinisa Momic as the head coach of our women's volleyball program. He brings a life-long journey of experiences - both as a player and as a coach - at very high levels including the past four years as top assistant in the Tulane program. Sinisa has been a critical mainstay in recruiting, development and tactical game planning for our team and this continuity will afford us the greatest opportunity to continue the goal of achieving elite status with our women's volleyball program."
HEAD COACH SINISA MOMIC
On being named head coach at Tulane University
"I'm glad it turned out like this. Obviously, this is a great honor and I am grateful that people here at Tulane University considered me and are appreciative of what I've done for the last six years. I've invested six years here, starting here as a volunteer assistant, working as the second assistant and serving as the top assistant for Liz over the last four years. New Orleans is a home away from home for me and this has worked out great for me. I'm happy that I get to stay with my team keep working for them and with them, and continue recruiting for the program. I believe I have a clear picture of what needs to be done not only to keep this program where it is now, but stabilize it and keep it there every single year. We don't want to wait another four years to climb from the bottom to the top. I know what it took to get here and I know what it takes to stay here."
On how being named head coach affects him and his family
"In the end, it couldn't have worked out better for us. (My wife) Lacey (Vicknair-Momic) played basketball here for four years, played volleyball for Tulane her fifth year, she works here now and is working toward her MBA. This turned out great for both of us."
On what he looks for in a recruit
"When you're recruiting, you're obviously looking for talent, physicality, height and quality. But for me the most important thing is finding players who are willing to work, invest in themselves and have a clear vision of what they want to be in college."
On the immediate future of the Tulane program
"I have been working on spring training with the players who are already here as well as some of the graduating seniors who are helping out. But we started the spring season as if nothing happened. I've been here all along and didn't really know what was going to happen with the head coaching position open. We've been practicing hard and working hard. We've all been under a little bit of stress with the unknown factor facing us, but they have been great. They're working hard. They're practicing very hard in their offseason workouts, and they're on spring break right now but we're starting April now on the right track. We understand who's here, who their head coach is and we're going to finish April very strong. We're going to train, play some tournaments and come back ready in the summer. That means bringing in additional recruits, putting together a staff and then getting ready for another strong season."
On the upcoming 2009 season
"Obviously, we lost seven seniors, four starters and two-thirds of our coaching staff, but I'm not going to say, `We can't do anything now. We've got to rebuild and it doesn't matter what we do next year. I think we still have a very strong team and if recruiting goes as planned, we're going to have a really good team next year. Our goal from now on is to make the NCAA Tournament each year and finish in the top three or four in the conference. Where we finish in the conference is up to us, but I don't expect there to be any drastic drop off. We have a really tough preseason planned, probably the toughest ever, but I think that is needed to learn about ourselves. We will be ready for conference play and we will have a strong team."
On if Tulane can be a perennial NCAA Tournament team
"That's my goal. I think we have areas that we can improve. If we have coaches and players with the right mentality and they're willing to invest and work, I think we can definitely improve our domestic recruiting here. I don't see why we can't maintain this all the time, year after year."