|Position:||Head Volleyball Coach|
|Alma Mater:||UC Santa Barbara|
Jose "Keno" Gandara recently completed his third season as head volleyball coach at the University of Miami. Gandara accepted the position on March 20, 2013, becoming the second head coach since the program returned in 2001.
Gandara has led the Hurricanes to three straight NCAA Tournaments in his time at the helm of the Miami volleyball program. The Canes were selected to the 2015 NCAA Tournament, where they faced Iowa State in a first round match in Madison, Wis. The Canes finished the season 21-10 and 14-6 in the ACC, while Miami's 21 wins marked the second consecutive 20-win season under Gandara’s leadership. The Hurricanes saw seniors Alexis Mourning and Taylor Scott, as well as sophomores Olga Strantzali and Haley Templeton, named to the 2015 All-ACC Second Team with Strantzali and Templeton also earning AVCA All-East Coast Region Honorable Mention.
Miami reached the NCAA Tournament for the sixth consecutive season in 2014 and seventh time in program history. The Hurricanes, who finished the season 22-9, defeated UCF in five sets in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The victory was Gandara’s first NCAA Tournament win as a head coach. Miami’s 22 wins also gave Gandara his first 20-win season at the helm of the program.
The Canes reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament before falling to No. 8 Florida in four sets. But Gandara helped develop several players to reach unprecedented levels of success.
Senior outside hitter Savanah Leaf was named 2014 ACC Player of the Year and a second team AVCA All-American, while freshman Haley Templeton earned ACC Freshman of the Year honors. Leaf was joined by senior middle blocker Emani Sims on the All-ACC First Team, while Templeton was picked for the All-ACC Second Team and the All-ACC Freshman Team. The accolades continued for the trio as Leaf and Sims were named AVCA East Coast All-Region selections and Templeton was tabbed as the AVCA East Coast Region Freshman of the Year.
The 2013 season was filled with firsts for Gandara. He secured his first win as a NCAA head coach on Aug. 30, when Miami defeated Austin Peay, 3-1. Gandara collected his first home win when Miami beat LSU in five sets on Sept. 14. The first-year head coach tallied his first ACC win when the Canes defeated Boston College in five sets on Sept. 28. Gandara also guided the Canes to their fifth straight NCAA Tournament appearance and first under his tutelage.
The Hurricanes dropped their first round match against Oregon in three sets, but 2013 was still a successful first season under Gandara. Miami had four players earn All-ACC distinction, including Savanah Leaf and Emani Sims (first team), Alexis Mourning (second team) and Ryan Shaffer (third team). The Canes defeated No. 12 North Carolina at home and earned one of the coveted 64 spots in the NCAA Tournament.
Gandara came to Miami after spending eight years as an assistant at the University of Washington. He previously served as an assistant at UNLV and his alma mater, UC Santa Barbara.
“I feel like I’ve been working for this moment for a long time,” Gandara said. “It’s a tough job and I wanted to be in the right situation with good support and good people around me. I was confident in my abilities and I think Miami fit that match.”
Gandara is a highly-respected teacher who has played and coached at the top levels of college and professional volleyball. Keno assisted Washington head coach Jim McLaughlin with all aspects of coaching, including opponent scouting and contributing to the Huskies' defensive package.
“We are excited for Jose to join the UM family,” said Jennifer Strawley, Miami’s senior women’s administrator. “He brings a wealth of volleyball experience, has been a part of a top volleyball program and has tremendous recruiting connections.”
Gandara began his coaching career at UCSB in 1992 as an assistant with the men's team and was an assistant with the women's team in 1994. He also spent one season as a head coach/player with the San Juan Volleyball club in the Puerto Rico Professional League.
“Jose is well respected by his peers in the volleyball community and is committed to developing our student-athletes both on and off the volleyball court,” Strawley said. “Most importantly, he will be an asset to the athletic department and the university community.”
A San Juan, Puerto Rico, native, Gandara graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 1990 after a successful volleyball career with the Gauchos as a middle blocker. Gandara was a first team All-America selection in 1989 and second team selection in 1988 after leading UCSB to the national title match. He was also a two-time all-conference honoree. Gandara has also been inducted into the UCSB Hall of Fame. He also represented both the United States and Puerto Rico in international competition as a member of their respective national volleyball teams.
Gandara is married to Stephanie Cox who was a standout setter at UCSB and played on the AVP Tour. The couple welcomed their first child, a son named Lucas, in April 2011.