Luka Slabe Named U.S. Women's Assistant Coach

By Bill Kauffman (bill.kauffman@usav.org) | Feb. 08, 2018, 12 a.m. (ET)

Luka Slabe named assistant coach for the U.S. Women's National Team
Luka Slabe, pictured above serving as head coach for the Slovenia men's national team, has been named assistant coach for the U.S. Women's National Team

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Feb. 6, 2018) – USA Volleyball has hired current Brigham Young University men’s assistant coach Luka Slabe to serve as the U.S. Women’s National Team assistant coach under head coach Karch Kiraly. Slabe will assume his role with the national team upon completion of BYU’s collegiate season.

Kiraly is excited that Slabe has agreed to join the coaching staff, bringing with him a long and successful resume as a head coach in the European professional leagues and with the Slovenia men’s national team before his current role at BYU.

“Luka has a long and skillful track record of helping everyone around him - players and staff alike - learn and improve,” Kiraly said. “He has a great eye for the nuances of this complex game. He has a unique range of experiences, including already having served as a national team head coach, and he is a really hard worker. We're ecstatic to have him join our staff, and bring those traits to bear in our Women's National Team's quest to play this game better than it's ever been played before.”

“I would like to thank coach Kiraly, the U.S. Women’s National Team and USA Volleyball for this opportunity to assist coaching one of the best teams in the world,” Slabe said. “I am very pleased to be returning to the arenas of the international volleyball community, where I have spent coaching most of my career prior to joining Brigham Young University. I hope I will be able to contribute and influence our team and staff by bringing my values and international experience to the gym.”

With Slabe on its coaching staff, BYU posted a 53-9 record in his first two seasons with consecutive NCAA runner-up finishes in 2016 and 2017. The Cougars won the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation title outright in 2016 and claimed a share of the title in 2017. Slabe has helped BYU garner eight AVCA All-American certificates, including current U.S. Men’s National Team athletes Ben Patch, Jake Langlois and Brenden Sander.

As Slovenia’s men’s national team coach from 2013-15, Slabe increased the team’s European rankings. His squad competed in the European League (2014), European and World Championship Qualification Tournaments (2014) and the European Championships (2013).

Slabe, a native of Ljubljana, Slovenia, amassed seven years of head coaching experience in European pro leagues from 2008-15. During this period, his teams won six national and international championships in addition to runner-up finishes in six events.

After leading Slovenia’s Uko Kropa from 2008-11, Slabe took the reins of Slovenia’s Calcit Kamnik in 2011-12. He led the squad to the CEV Cup round of 16 and the quarterfinals of the CEV Challenger Cup. Slabe served as head coach of Slovenia’s Ach Volley Ljubljana from 2012-14, leading to the team to two national titles and two MEVZA titles. Ljubljana finished in the top 12 of the European Champions League. Slabe’s final stop before joining BYU was with Austria’s Posojilnica Aich Dob, which also competed in the European Champions League during the 2014-15 season.

Slabe, an outside hitter for BYU from 2000-03, helped the Cougars win the 2001 NCAA Division I-II Men’s National Collegiate Championship title. As a senior, he was part of BYU’s national runner-up finish in 2003. Slabe graduated from BYU in 2003 with a bachelor’s degree in athletic training.

After graduating from BYU, Slabe played professionally in Europe for several years before starting his coaching career in 2008.

What They Are Saying About Luka Slabe:

Jim McLaughlin, head women’s volleyball coach at Notre Dame
“Bringing in Luka Slabe as an assistant coach was a great hire by Karch. Luka understands coaching at the highest level. He works extremely hard, has a very complete process with the players, always gives them good, meaningful feedback and his content is supported by sound facts and statistics. Luka is all about his players and helping them become the players and people that they want to become. I paid close attention to the Slovenia Men’s National Team when Luka was their head coach and I was impressed with the improvement the team made over a three-year period. As he got things in place there, his teams became more competitive, beating the top teams in the European League. When Luka became the assistant coach at BYU he made an immediate impact and has been a huge asset to the BYU Men’s program. He is very honest and direct with his players and is demanding in a very good way. He teaches his players to move well both efficiently and with power when needed. They are taught to respond to the situations that occur most often as his players see the game very well. I am excited for USA Women’s Volleyball as they have hired one of the very best in our country.”

Mike Wall, U.S. Men’s National Team assistant coach
“Luka has been around the international volleyball community his entire life, both as a player and a coach. His passion for the game of volleyball is what stands out most to me. He will be a great asset to Karch and the U.S. Women's National Team. I couldn't be happier that Luka has joined the USA Volleyball family.”