UVA names Aaron Smith head volleyball coach
“I am pleased to announce the promotion of Aaron Smith to lead our volleyball program,” UVA acting director of athletics Jon Oliver said. “I have been impressed with Aaron during his time as our interim head coach, particularly his rapport with the student-athletes on the team. He understands there is a tremendous amount of work to be done for the volleyball program to reach our goals.
“I would like to thank Senior Associate Athletics Director Valerie Richardson for her work during the search process. As we conducted our search, Aaron clearly articulated his vision and plan for Virginia Volleyball to be successful with a focus on the overall development of current and future UVA student-athletes.”
During Smith’s time at Virginia, he helped guide UVA to three-straight winning seasons for the first time since 2006-08. Smith was honored with the AVCA Thirty Under 30 award in 2013 as one of the country’s up-and-coming coaching talents under the age of 30.
“To join the ranks of so many great Virginia coaches is an honor,” Smith said. “I would like to thank the athletics department and University administration for their support. It’s a tremendous opportunity to lead this program in my home state surrounded by family, close friends and many supporters. I have met many of the Virginia Volleyball alumnae already, but I certainly look forward to reaching out and building those relationships.
“To continue coaching this group is a privilege. We have been hard at work since returning from break to prepare us for the tough ACC schedule this fall. I believe our alumni, fans and followers will love the style of volleyball we intend to play.”
While working with outside and right side hitters at UVA, three players Smith coached have joined the 1,000 kills club, with Haley Kole finishing her career ranked fourth all-time with 1,457 kills. Under Smith’s tutelage, Jasmine Burton earned AVCA All-East Coast Region Honorable Mention and All-ACC Second Team honors as a senior and was the ACC Freshman of the Year in 2013.
During Smith’s time at Virginia, eight Cavaliers have received All-ACC honors with four players earning AVCA All-Region recognition. UVA has also had four student-athletes named to the All-ACC Freshman Team and one receive ACC Rookie of the Year honors over the last five seasons.
Prior to his time at Virginia, Smith was an assistant coach at Northwestern from 2009-11. The Wildcats reached the NCAA Tournament Round of 32 in 2010 for only the second time in school history, and had their best start in 14 years in 2011, winning five straight matches to open the season.
Smith also served as an assistant at Wake Forest, where the Demon Deacons finished 19-13 in 2008.
A native of Richmond, Va., who played for the Richmond Volleyball Club, Smith served as the Director of Coaches of the Wildcat Juniors Volleyball Club and as a coach of the WJVC’s 15 Elite team that earned 13th place at the 2011 AAU National Championships.
Smith, a former Virginia High School Player of the Year at Monacan, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in landscape contracting management from Penn State in 2007. He married the former Natalie Mullikin in May of 2011. The couple has a daughter, Lucy.