KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee and head volleyball coach Rob Patrick announced the hiring of Gregg Whitis as the team’s new assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Thursday afternoon. He will take over for Mike Minnis who left the staff in December to pursue another coaching opportunity. Whitis will be involved in all phases of the program, including on-court coaching and scouting
“I’m extremely excited to have this opportunity to work with both Rob (Patrick) and Katie (Noble),” Whitis said. “Coach Patrick and I have known one another for over a decade and I have the utmost respect for how he has built this program.
“I know that I have some big shoes to fill, as Mike did a tremendous job, but I am looking forward to the challenge,” Whitis said. “I’ve watched the progress that Tennessee has made over the past few years and have been really impressed with the tradition that has been established. It’s not everyday that you get to work at an institution that supports women’s athletics the way that Tennessee does.”
Whitis comes to Rocky Top after spending the past two seasons at Michigan where he helped head coach Mark Rosen guide the squad to back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances, including the program’s first ever berth in the Sweet 16. In 2007, the Wolverines finished with the third-most wins in program history with a record of 24-11. The team also reached its highest national ranking (No. 10) and spent every week of the season either ranked or receiving votes in the AVCA Top 25 poll.
One of the top recruiters in the country, Whitis has found success at every stop in his 13-year coaching career. The recruiting coordinator at Clemson from 2003-05, a squad consisting mainly of recruits from his tenure, including two-time AVCA Honorable Mention All-American Danielle Hepburn, recently capped off the best season in school history with a 29-4 overall record, No. 22 ranking and appearance in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
“Right now, we are going to utilize Gregg’s expertise in many areas of our program,” Patrick said. “He brings a tremendous amount of volleyball experience and knowledge to our team and is definitely one of the top recruiters in the country. He is a very hard worker, takes recruiting very personally and has a very engaging personality.
“When we set out to find a new coach, we were looking for someone that would be able to help us build upon our recent success and I feel that Gregg is just the guy to do that,” Patrick said. “I’m very much looking forward to working with him. The synergy of Katie, Gregg and myself will lead to great things for Tennessee volleyball.”
Prior to his time at Clemson, Whitis spent two seasons (2001-02) as an assistant at Southern Methodist University. While in Dallas, he coached three All-Western Athletic Conference selections, including the first All-WAC middle blocker in SMU history and the first back-to-back All-WAC selection in school history.
Whitis began his collegiate coaching career at Indiana State University, where he served as a graduate assistant coach from July 1995 to May 1997. He was named the head coach of Kankakee Community College in 1997 where he remained until May 1998. Whitis left KCC to become the recruiting coordinator at South Dakota State University, where he recruited and trained all-region and All-America athletes. The Jackrabbits were participants in the 1998 NCAA Division II Tournament, advancing to region play.
After serving as a volunteer assistant coach at the University of South Carolina for the 1999 season, Whitis was named an assistant at Northern Michigan University, where he served as the Wildcats' recruiting coordinator and trained the outside hitters. The Wildcats were participants in the NCAA Division II Tournament during the 2000 season.
Whitis earned a Bachelor of Arts in English education from Olivet Nazarene University in 1991. At Olivet Nazarene, he played three seasons of volleyball and two seasons of golf. He also competed with the Neris Volleyball Club from 1985 to 1987 and played in three Prairie State Games.