The future of the BYU men’s volleyball team rests in the hands of a legendary father/son duo preparing to return to the NCAA Tournament.
Head coach Chris McGown has been coaching at BYU since 2011. He played on the BYU volleyball team from 1990 to 1994 under the direction of his father, Carl McGown. Carl McGown coached the Cougars from 1989 to 2002 and now is a volunteer coach under the direction of his son.
“It’s interesting to compare his experiences back then with my experiences now,” Chris McGown said. “It’s different when you’re a player and your dad is trying to help you be better, versus being a coach and you’ve got all these other players, and your dad is trying to help you make them better. I still rely a lot on his experience.”
Carl McGown introduced the Cougars into the NCAA competition and won national championship titles in 1999 and 2001. He coached the USA men’s volleyball team in seven different Olympic games and seven world championships. The BYU men’s volleyball team has made two appearances at the NCAA Tournament since Chris McGown took over as head coach, making it to the finals in 2013 and the semi-finals in 2014.
“It’s been fun to see Chris take over and find himself as a coach,” senior Phil Fuchs said. “Chris and Carl present a really united front together, and that’s good for the program.”
The Cougars currently have a 13-9 record for the season with a 10-2 record at home. Their regular season performance has dropped without four-time All-American and 2014 Player of the Year Taylor Sander.
“The biggest difference is that the talent isn’t focused in a single player like it has been in the past, but we are focused on a group of players,” Chris McGown said. “That can be a weakness in that we don’t have the one guy that can carry you through the whole time, and the strength is that the rest of the team isn’t sitting back watching one guy but feels like it has to be each of them.”
Experienced players like Fuchs and Jake Langlois are joined by promising freshmen like Brenden Sander as the team prepares for another 2015 NCAA Tournament run.