Former BYU volleyball coach Carl McGown dies

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Legendary BYU men's volleyball head coach Carl McGown passed away today at the age of 79. (BYU Photo)
Legendary BYU men’s volleyball head coach Carl McGown passed away Dec. 30 at the age of 79. (BYU Photo)

BYU lost another legendary coach this week with the passing of BYU men’s volleyball coach Carl McGown Friday, Dec. 30, 2016. He was 79.

McGown led the Cougars for 13 seasons from 1990 to 2002, winning two NCAA National Championships and earning National Coach of the Year honors in 1999 and 2001.

“Carl was a coaching icon in the volleyball community and was recognized worldwide as one of the very best teachers, strategists and innovators the sport has ever known,” said BYU Athletic Director Tom Holmoe. “He guided our fledgling men’s program from a club team to national prominence in the NCAA. Along the way he had a profound impact on the lives of many student-athletes. Our thoughts and prayers are with Susan and the McGown family.”

McGown was 205-131 in his career and coached 17 All-Americans in Provo. His Cougars finished in the top 10 in the nation nine times in his 13 seasons and BYU led the nation in attendance three times in the 1990s.

Before McGown came to BYU he was involved with the US National Team, serving as the team’s coach from 1973-1976. He was also a Team USA assistant coach in seven-straight Olympic games from 1984-2008, winning three gold medals.

“Carl McGown is one of the great volleyball minds in the history of the sport,” said BYU men’s volleyball coach Shawn Olmstead. “His ability to analyze the game and his team’s training from a unique perspective was why coaches from around the world knocked on his door. Carl loved volleyball and he loved learning. Playing for Carl was a dream come true. He pushed us and coached us as only Carl could. He loved each one of his players through the good and bad times. The greatest life lessons I learned were with Carl away from the court. He had that kind of impact on everyone who played for him.”

McGown was inducted into the Utah Sports Hall of Fame in 2004, the American Volleyball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2010 and the BYU Hall of Fame in 2011. He graduated from BYU in 1963 with a degree in physical education.

Carl and his wife Susan have two sons, Christopher, who was BYU’s men’s volleyball coach from 2012-2015, and Paul.

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