Huskies tap Jennings to run Volleyball Program

Courtesy of Michigan Tech Athletics

HOUGHTON, Mich. — Michigan Tech athletic director Suzanne Sanregret today announced the hiring of Matt Jennings as the school’s new volleyball coach. Jennings, who has had success as both a head and assistant coach, served the last three seasons as an assistant women’s volleyball coach at NCAA Division I University of Pittsburgh of the Big East.

“We are thrilled to get someone with Matt’s credentials to lead our volleyball program,” said Sanregret. “He has significant recruiting experience in the Midwest as well as prior head coaching experience. I believe his philosophy for academic and athletic excellence fits very well with ours at Michigan Tech.”

Jennings served as Pitt’s recruiting coordinator and worked with the passing, defensive and outside hitting elements of the team. The Panthers compiled a 51-44 overall record during his three years there including a 20-win season in 2009 and an 18-win campaign last fall. Jennings helped sign three high school All-Americans to the team’s 2011 recruiting class. This past fall, Pitt landed five Illinois all-state selections, two high school All-Americans and three AAU National Champions thanks to Jennings’ recruiting. In his three seasons on staff, Pitt produced several highly decorated players, both athletically and academically, including: three AVCA All-Americans, six All-Big East selections, the Big East Player and Libero of the Year, an ESPN Academic All-American and the 2009 Big East Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

While in Pittsburgh, Jennings also served as head coach of the Pittsburgh Elite Volleyball Club under 18 team. He led his 2010 squad to a berth in the AAU national championship tournament in Orlando.

“I’d like to thank Suzanne Sanregret, Les Cook and the search committee for their trust in me and for providing me the opportunity to be the next leader of their volleyball program,” said Jennings. “I am honored to have been given this responsibility.”

Jennings worked for a season at DePaul University prior to heading to Pittsburgh. He was an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator and also helped the Blue Demons establish a program record for Big East victories. He spent the 2008 campaign as an assistant women’s coach at Eastern Kentucky, helping coach a player who set an NCAA record for digs per set.

The Chicago native played men’s volleyball at Augustana College in Rock Island, Ill., from 2000-03. He was a four-year starter, a two-time all-conference performer and a 2002 Collegiate Club All-American. He helped his team to a national third-place finish in 2002.

Jennings began his coaching career at NAIA member St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa. From 2004-06, he served as the head men’s volleyball coach and head women’s junior varsity volleyball coach. He helped his men’s team to a conference runner up finish and top-10 national ranking in 2005. With a 19-player recruiting class in 2006, Jennings’ players, along with his former assistant serving as the current head coach, have taken a once struggling program to the top tier of the NAIA. St. Ambrose has had six consecutive 20-plus win seasons since and earned a spot in the national championship last season.

In June of 2008, Jennings was selected to lead the USA Athletes International Men’s Team in the Scottish Open Volleyball Tournament in Perth, Scotland. Having never played before the trip, his team went on to win the tournament with an undefeated record and a victory over the Scottish National Team in the final match.

Jennings earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration and political science from Augustana in 2003 and received his master of business administration (MBA) from St. Ambrose in 2006. He has spent time working in the financial industry as a credit manager for Wells Fargo and a associate business analyst for the Northern Trust Company in downtown Chicago.

“It was very clear to me during my time on campus that Michigan Tech is a special and unique place that provides unlimited opportunity to its students, employees and the Houghton community,” said Jennings. “With world class academics, an active and adventurous community, and great people at every turn, I am lucky to be able to call Michigan Tech my new home.

“There is no doubt that, with some sweat, sacrifice, and teamwork, the volleyball team can find success on many levels. I am very excited to get started.”

Jennings will begin his position at Michigan Tech on March 1.

Posted by Jerry Taylor