July 19, 2011
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The Tennessee volleyball program and head coach Rob Patrick announced the addition of former Iona College head coach Alan Edwards as the team's new assistant coach and recruiting coordinator on Tuesday afternoon.
"I am very excited about adding Alan to our coaching staff," Patrick said. "He brings a wealth of volleyball experience, both as a head coach and assistant coach from a number of Division-I programs, and is someone who I feel will be able to assimilate himself into our team very quickly.
"I have a great deal of respect for Alan's abilities as a recruiter, as well as his ability to identify talent at a young age. He also has experience coaching every position on the court and has a sharp mind when it comes to studying film, which will greatly benefit us in the upcoming season."
Edwards was most recently the head coach at Iona for the past five seasons, where he led the Gaels to a 75-79 overall record and four appearances in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Championships.
"When Rob called and asked if I wanted to join his coaching staff, it was a no-brainer for me," Edwards said. "I've known Rob for over 10 years and have the utmost respect for what he has accomplished here at Tennessee. I believe in what Rob is teaching and know that he runs his program with a tireless work ethic geared toward winning a national championship. The opportunity to pursue that goal with a person I respect as much as Rob was simply not one I could pass up.
"I realize that anything I do here at UT will only be building upon the work that some of my best friends in this business have already done in Rob, Gregg Whitis, Mike Minnis and many others. My only goal is to pick up where they left off and continue to make this program better each and every day. I am looking forward to the challenge and hope that I can contribute something to the future success of Tennessee volleyball."
During his time in New Rochelle, Edwards mentored one of the top defensive players in NCAA history in Allison Neiters. One of the top volleyball performers in Iona College and MAAC history, she shattered the Iona and conference career record for digs with 2,682, the fifth highest all-time total in the NCAA.
Neiters was named the 2007 and 2008 MAAC Defensive Player of the Year and 2009 MAAC Libero of the Year, as well as the league's Defensive Player of the Week 17 times during her career. She was also a three-time MAAC All-Academic Team and MAAC Honor Roll member, two-time CoSIDA Academic All-District selection and earned Iona's Academic Merit Award for holding a 3.50 or above grade point average.
"The five years I spent at Iona were the most rewarding of my career so far," Edwards said. "I was unbelievably fortunate to work in a tremendous athletic department that measures success through academics, and not just wins and losses. I thoroughly enjoyed my time there and that is a testament to the type of place Iona is and the way they run things there."
Edwards also coached three-time All-MAAC, and 1,000+ kill club member Sarah Wiener in her final three seasons along with the 2009 MAAC Rookie of the Year, Rachelle Wilson.
Academically, the Gaels under Edwards have performed exceptionally well with more than three-fourths of his student-athletes eligible earning MAAC All-Academic or Academic Honor Roll distinction.
Edwards came to New Rochelle after spending the 2005 season as an assistant at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, LA. His previous coaching experiences include a stint as an assistant at the University of Wyoming and as a head coach at Mercer University in Macon, GA.
In his only season at Wyoming, Edwards served as the Cowgirls' recruiting coordinator where his 2005 class was given a High Honorable Mention award by PrepVolleyball.com, ranking the school among the Top 50 recruiting classes in the country.
Prior to his stint at Wyoming, Edwards spent four seasons as head coach at Mercer. He posted a four-year record of 52-73 and guided the Bears to the Atlantic Sun Conference tournament for the first time since 1996. Edwards compiled an 11-29 record in A-Sun play and led Mercer to its most wins ever in conference play in 2003, going 7-3 and earning the No. 4 seed at the A-Sun Championship. He took over the Mercer volleyball program in 2000 after the Bears had gone a combined 6-48 in the two years prior to his arrival.
A native of Brevard, NC, Edwards spent one season as an assistant at Troy State before accepting the Mercer position. Prior to his stint at TSU, the Western Carolina graduate spent the previous 10 seasons at the high school and club level. He guided Brevard High School to three consecutive state playoff appearances after inheriting a team that finished 4-16 the year before he arrived.
While in the high school ranks, Edwards was instrumental in bringing club volleyball to the Western North Carolina area. He helped found the Biltmore Volleyball club team in 1993 and worked with that squad until 1999.