Sunahara Chosen as Assistant Coach for U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team

By Bill Kauffman | Feb. 18, 2013, 5:08 a.m. (ET)

Bill Kauffman
USA Volleyball Communications
Phone: 719-228-6800
USAV Facebook - @USA_Volleyball

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Feb. 18, 2013) – Reed Sunahara has agreed to serve as the assistant coach for the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team during the 2013-2016 Olympic quadrennial, working together with head coach Karch Kiraly.

“It’s a great honor to represent USA Volleyball,” Sunahara said. “I’ve coached at every level and various USA teams, but this is an unbelievable opportunity to coach the best athletes at the highest level. I would like to thank Karch and Doug Beal for making this a dream come true. Also, to all the former USA staff members for paving the way…thank you!”

“Reed is all about success and standards - he’s coached successful USA campaigns, and he headed a strong NCAA Division I college program for over a decade,” Kiraly said. “It’s a great benefit to the program that he has joined our staff. The U.S. Women have achieved tremendous success by setting very high standards, and Reed will be invaluable to that process going forward.”

Sunahara is not a stranger to the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team program or the USA Volleyball High Performance pipeline. He led the U.S. Women to the 2012 Pan American Cup title last summer with a squad absent of any 2012 Olympians competing against the likes of Brazil and Dominican Republic with largely their Olympic roster. The Pan Am Cup gold medal qualified the Americans into the 2013 FIVB World Grand Prix where they will attempt to win an unprecedented fourth consecutive title of the premier annual event for international volleyball. Sunahara gained a familiarity with the FIVB World Grand Prix as he served as the U.S. Women’s team leader during the 2010 World Grand Prix edition.

Sunahara also mentored the 2012 U.S. Girls’ Youth National Volleyball Team that captured the NORCECA Girls’ Youth Continental Championship and qualify for the 2013 FIVB Volleyball Girls’ Youth World Championship.

Sunahara has also been active working with other national federations and NORCECA. Last year from Nov. 1 to Dec. 1, he served as a NORCECA instructor for men’s and women’s national team and youth programs for the Jamaica Volleyball Association. During this time period he served as an assistant coach/consultant to the Jamaica Women’s National Team as it won the gold medal in the NORCECA First Round Women’s World Championship Qualification Tournament and advance to the second round.

Prior to his work with USA Volleyball last summer, Sunahara made a name for himself in the collegiate ranks. He compiled a 289-109 record at the University of Cincinnati from 2000 to 2011, reaching at least 20 wins in 11 of his 12 seasons and eight NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Tournament berths. Sunahara led the Bearcats to three BIG EAST championships and three Conference USA championships. He was selected as the BIG EAST Coach of the Year in 2008 and 2011, along with Conference USA Coach of the Year in 2001 while at Cincinnati.

Sunahara served as an assistant coach at Cincinnati from 1997 to 1999. He was the head coach at the University of Toledo in 1995-1996 after holding the assistant coach role at Toledo from 1993-1994. Sunahara’s first venture into coaching was as the assistant men’s volleyball coach at his alma mater UCLA from 1990 to 1993.

Sunahara and Kiraly know each other from their collegiate playing days at UCLA. The pair won the NCAA national championship in 1982 as Sunahara was a freshman and Kiraly was a senior. Sunahara went on to compete for two additional Bruin NCAA title teams in 1983 and 1984.

“I was fortunate to play with Karch and as we went our separate ways, I have admired his accomplishments from afar,” Sunahara said. “To reunite and work side-by-side with him will be amazing! The goal is to win the gold medal at the 2016 Olympics and we will do everything in our power to accomplish that goal.”

Sunahara helped Nike/Molten win the Men’s Open title at the 1987 and 1990 USA Volleyball National Championships, as well as competing professionally for Cisneros Isla Verdes in the Canary Islands, Spain, in 1988.