U.S. Men's National Team Coaches

In his seventh year as head coach of the U.S. Men’s National Team, John Speraw, 47, has guided the U.S. to several top finishes.

In 2018, Speraw led the team to a third-place finish at both the FIVB World Championship and inaugural Volleyball Nations League.

The U.S. Men won gold at the 2014 FIVB World League finals and at the 2015 FIVB World Cup, where they also qualified for the 2016 Olympic Games.

At the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Speraw helped the team overcome a devastating semifinal loss to Italy and come back to win the bronze-medal match against Russia.

The U.S. Men have also won two NORCECA Championships (2013 and ’17) under Speraw and finished third at the 2016 FIVB World League.

Speraw has been the head men’s volleyball coach at UCLA since 2012 and continues in a dual role with the U.S. Men’s Team. In 2018, he guided UCLA to the NCAA Division I Championship final, losing to Long Beach State in five sets.

Speraw joined the U.S. Men’s staff in 2007 under then head coach Hugh McCutcheon. In 2008, he was the second assistant for the team that won the gold medal at the Beijing Olympic Games. After 2008, he worked with the U.S. Men as needed, including serving as head coach of a young team that finished fifth at the 2011 Pan American Games.

In 2012, Speraw returned as the assistant coach for the FIVB World League and filled in as head coach for the 2012 World League team for four overseas pool play matches while then head coach Alan Knipe was dealing with a family emergency. The U.S. Men went on to win the silver medal in the FIVB World League Final Round.

Speraw assisted Knipe at the 2012 Olympic Games in London where the U.S. Men placed fifth after winning its preliminary pool with a 4-1 record.

Speraw served as head coach of the U.S. Men’s Junior National Team that won the silver medal at the NORCECA Men’s Junior (U-21) Continental Volleyball Championship in 2004 and the team that placed sixth at the 2005 FIVB Junior World Championship. He served as an assistant for the U.S. Boys’ Youth National Team (1998 and 2001), the World University Games Team (1997 and 1999) and the Pan American Games Team (1999, 2007).

Prior to UCLA, Speraw coached UC Irvine men’s volleyball (2002-12). Under Speraw’s direction, the Anteaters won three NCAA National Championships six years and advanced to the NCAA Championship four times, won two Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) regular season titles and a pair of MPSF Tournament championships.

In 2008, Speraw received a Pillar Award, which showcases outstanding achievement in ethical leadership at the12th Annual Ethics in America Awards. In 2011, he was given the U.S. Olympic Achievement Award, an honor that recognizes colleges and universities whose coaches and student-athletes have won Olympic medals in the past two Olympic Games.

Prior to UCI, Speraw served in various roles with the UCLA men’s volleyball program for 12 years. He played middle blocker for the Bruins from 1992-95 and was a member of two national championship teams. He was named to the NCAA All-Tournament team in 1995 when he had 11 kills and eight blocks in the championship victory over Penn State.

Speraw became a volunteer assistant coach with the Bruins before assuming a full-time assistant’s position in 1998. He graduated from UCLA in 1995 with a bachelor of science degree in microbiology and molecular genetics. He grew up in Arcadia, Calif., and attended Arcadia High School.

In 2014, Speraw married Michelle La Mott. The couple has two children, Hailey (2017) and Brooklyn (2015).

Speraw is the co-author of the book “Exercise for Your Muscle Type: The Smart Way to Get Fit.”

National Team Coaches

Head Coach: John Speraw
Assistant Coaches: Rob Neilson and Brian Thornton
Technical Coordinator: Nate Ngo
Athletic Trainer: Aaron Brock

U.S. Men's National Team Coaches

Rob Neilson, Assistant Coach

Rob Neilson

Former BYU player and coach Rob Neilson joined the U.S. Men's National Team staff as a coach in 2017.

Neilson points to his work with former BYU and U.S. National Team coaches Carl McGown and Hugh McCutcheon as important to his decision to joining the U.S. Men’s Team.

Neilson grew up in Pacific Palisades, Calif., and was the starting setter at BYU in 2005-06. He received his bachelor of science in neuroscience in 2006, then served as an assistant to Shawn Patchell at BYU from 2007-10.

He was interim head coach in 2011 and then was an assistant to Chris McGown before being named associate head coach in 2014. Neilson left BYU in 2015 and worked for VolleyMetrics until joining the U.S. Men.

He said his first summer with the U.S. Men was a learning experience.

“At the college level, we are teaching players algebra. These guys are playing at the level of calculus,” Neilson said. “The type of information they can handle; what’s impactful in terms of scouting reports… this [was] a summer where I got to improve as a coach quite a bit.”

Neilson and wife, Sarah, have been married for 11 years. The have four children: Etta, Liam, Charlotte and Whit.

Brian Thornton, Assistant Coach

Brian ThorntonBrian Thornton joined the U.S. Men's National Team as a coach in 2017. 

A graduate of UC Irvine, Thornton ended his career as UCI's all-time assist leader with 4,662. He was a member of the Anteaters' 2007 national championship team and was a two-time All-American.

After college, Thornton began a lengthy career with the U.S. Men's National Team, culminating in a trip to the 2012 Olympic Games as the backup setter. With the U.S., he also competed in the 2011 and 2012 World League (silver in 2011), 2011 World Cup, 2011 NORCECA Men's Continental Championships (silver), 2009 and 2010 Pan American Cup (gold both times), and the 2007 World University Games (bronze). 

He also played professionally, with stints in Spain, France and Poland.

Nate Ngo, Technical Coordinator

Nate NgoNate Ngo joined USA Volleyball in February of 2015 to serve as technical coordinator for the U.S. Men’s National Team.

Ngo came to USAV from the University of Portland where he served as an assistant coach for the women’s volleyball team. Prior to that, Ngo served as the graduate manager of the University of Nebraska women’s volleyball team while earning a master's degree in statistics. He was also a volunteer assistant coach for the women’s team at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

Ngo served as technical coordinator for the U.S. Women’s Junior National Team in 2013 and 2014, and also for the SVS Post professional club team in Vienna, Austria, in 2011

Additionally, Ngo was the VIS (Volleyball Information System) supervisor at various international volleyball events, including the 2009 Women's Pan Am Cup, multiple weekends of FIVB World League in 2010 and 2011, and the NORCECA Men's Olympic Qualifier in 2012. 

Ngo’s duties include keeping track of statistics for the U.S. Men using DataVolley and scouting for the team at tournaments. 

“Nate came highly recommended from everyone that I talked to,” head coach John Speraw said. “I really felt very comfortable, especially after we interviewed him, that he was the right person for the job. He has a fantastic knowledge of the technical side and the technological side of the game and he adds tremendous value to our staff.”

Ngo is originally from San Francisco, Calif., and graduated from Cal Poly in 2010.

Aaron Brock, Athletic Trainer

Aaron BrockAaron Brock of Storm Lake, Iowa, is in his 13th year in 2017 as the full-time certified athletic trainer for the U.S. Men’s National Team at its headquarters at the American Sports Centers in Anaheim, Calif.

In 2009, he added the title of director of sports medicine and performance to the U.S. national teams. He oversees sports medicine for both the U.S. Men's and Women's National Teams.

He's worked with the U.S. Men three times at the Olympic Games (2008, 2012, 2016).

Before joining the U.S. Men in 2006, Brock worked with the U.S. Water Polo Team at the 2003 Pan American Games and the 2004 Olympic Games. He also has experience with high school, NCAA Division I and Division III sports teams as well as professional football and basketball teams.

He was a four-sport high school athlete in Storm Lake, Iowa, and earned his bachelor's and master's degrees at the University of Iowa.

Brock lives in Tustin, Calif., with his wife Kelly and their three children, Noah, Cameron and Bayla.