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Lamar Athletics | December 20, 2013

Lamar hires Tenn. assistant Edwards as head coach

BEAUMONT, Texas -- Alan Edwards has been named Lamar’s new head coach announced director of athletics Jason Henderson Friday morning. Edwards replaces Justin Gibert, who resigned following a 9-21 campaign.

“We are very excited to announce the hiring of Alan to take charge of our volleyball program,” Henderson said. “His resume jumped out to us from the very beginning. We wanted to target someone who was familiar with the Southland Conference, and who has head coaching experience. Not only does Alan meet those requirements, but he has a proven history of success both as an assistant and head coach at the Division I level.”

Edwards comes to Beaumont from Knoxville, Tenn., where he helped guide the Lady Vols program to two of its better seasons in program history. Working directly with Tennessee’s middle blockers, Edwards oversaw a national recruiting program that brought some of the nation’s top talent to Knoxville. Edwards’ most recent recruiting class was ranked 17th nationally by prepvolleyball.com.

During his first two years on campus, the Lady Vols recorded a 50-12 record, including a 28-4 mark in 2011 on their way to an SEC championship. Tennessee posted two nationally ranked finishes and made two NCAA tournament runs during that stretch. Edwards also helped produce six All-America selections during his short time with UT.

“I’m really excited about starting at Lamar,” Edwards said. “I feel all the pieces are in place to win there -- it has a great network of support, an incredible recruiting base, a fairly new facility and it has been good in the past. I believe we can build something that is sustainable over the long term.

“A former assistant coach at Southeastern Louisiana, I know what it takes to be successful in the Southland Conference. In addition to that, there is only one other state that produces more Division I talent than Texas. This state is loaded with top-caliber talent. Every year jobs open and you think that is a great job, but if you look a little harder you realize there is no talent in that state. That is not the case for Lamar. It was an easy sell.”

Prior to his time at Tennessee, Edwards spent five seasons as the head coach at Iona. He was given the task of rebuilding a program that lost 20 matches the season before. Edwards built the Gaels into one of the top teams in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. Iona posted 19 victories in his third season with the team, and two years later Edwards guided Iona to a 20-win season. The Gaels closed out the 2010 campaign by advancing to the MAAC championship match.

Edwards produced one of the MAAC’s top defensive players in conference history while at Iona. He coached Allison Neithers, a two-time conference defensive player of the year, who left Iona ranked among the NCAA all-time leaders in digs.

Edwards student-athletes were not just successful on the court, but they also took care of business in the classroom as well. More than 75 percent of his eligible players earned MAAC All-Academic or Academic Honor Roll honors.

Edwards brings more than 15 years of NCAA Division I coaching experience to Beaumont. He has served as a head coach at Mercer, and has made stops as an assistant at Wyoming and Southeastern Louisiana.

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