Virginia fills volleyball coaching vacancy, hiring Florida assistant Shannon Wells

Shannon Wells
Shannon Wells. Photo courtesy Florida Athletics.

Florida assistant Shannon Wells has been named head coach of the Virginia volleyball program, filling a vacancy from the abrupt removal of former coach Aaron Smith and his staff last month.

Wells comes to Virginia after serving on the coaching staff at Florida the past seven seasons, where she has served as the program’s recruiting coordinator.

During her tenure, the Gators went 184-33 (.848) and participated in seven consecutive NCAA tournaments. Florida won SEC titles in 2014, 2016 and 2017, and in that 2017 season, the Gators advanced to the NCAA Championship finals for the first time since the 2003 season.

This season Florida posted a 21-4 record and reached the NCAA Regional finals before falling to top-seed Wisconsin in five sets.

The Gators were 19-3 in SEC play, finishing second to eventual NCAA champion Kentucky.

“We are very excited to have Shannon Wells as Virginia’s head volleyball coach,” UVA Athletics Director Carla Williams said. “She is a perfect fit for who we are currently and what we aspire to be as a volleyball program. First, she is an exceptional person and will be a wonderful addition to the UVA family. She has excelled at every level as a student-athlete and coach. She is very highly regarded and respected across the country in volleyball. We’re ready to get started under her direction.”

“I’m so excited to be the head coach of Virginia volleyball and to start building an elite program,” Wells said. “For me, it’s always been about surrounding yourself with the right people and Virginia has some of the best in college athletics. I want to thank Carla Williams, assistant athletics director Jess Wilk and the entire executive team as well as President Jim Ryan for entrusting me to lead the way. Their investment and support of the volleyball program is great for UVA and for the game of volleyball. I look forward to getting to Grounds, meeting the team and getting to work on something very special.”

The job at UVA had been open since March 18, when Williams announced the removal of Smith and assistants Nikki Dailey, Kelsea Kalich and Joe Klein following a review of what a release termed “a personnel matter.”

The firings led to a premature end to the 2020-2021 season for the program, which went 2-12 overall and was 0-11 in ACC play.

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