CORAL GABLES, Fla. – After an extensive search, the University of Miami named Jose Gandara as its head volleyball coach.
Gandara, 45, comes to Miami after spending the past 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 abilitiesand 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.”
Miami assistant coach Lee Nelson will remain on Gandara’s staff. Nelson and Gandara have known each other for over 25 years and are excited to work together again.
“I’ve known Jose for over 25 years and I have the highest level of respect for him as an individual, for his knowledge in the sport of volleyball and his dedication to the teams he’s been a part of,” Nelson said. “I think he’s a tremendous addition to this program. He will build on the success that we’ve already had and I think he can take this program to new heights. It’s a very exciting time to be here and I couldn’t wait to say ‘yes’ when he offered me the assistant position.”
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.