James Finley enters his fifth season as head coach of the Seattle University volleyball team in 2017.
In 2015, SU had its best season yet under Finley, going 18-11 overall, including 6-2 at home. The Redhawks posted their third straight winning league record, finishing 9-5 in WAC play, good for third place. Led by First Team All-WAC selection Martina Samadan, SU finished third in the league standings. Samadan went on to give Finley his first Redhawk player turned pro, signing a professional contract in August of 2016.
In 2014, he led the Redhawks to their second consecutive winning conference season and to the title match of the WAC Tournament with victories over Utah Valley and WAC regular season champion Missouri-Kansas City. Martina Samadan earned First Team All-WAC honors and joined Matea Mamic on the WAC All-Tournament Team, while Jelena Vujcin earned a spot on the WAC All-Newcomer Team. The team also excelled academically, with eight members of the 2014 roster receiving WAC All-Academic recognition.
Taking over in February 2013, Finley helped the Redhawks to 13 victories in the fall 2013 season, including a 9-7 record within the Western Athletic Conference. Seattle U advanced to the semifinals of the WAC Volleyball Tournament. Thanks to Finley's coaching, Iris Ivanis was named WAC Freshman of the Year and Second Team All-WAC, while Martina Samadan earned Second Team All-WAC and All-WAC Tournament honors.
Finley served as head coach at Virginia Commonwealth University for eight years, compiling a 151-116 (.566) record from 2005 to 2012. He led the Rams to four conference championship matches, including the 2005 Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) tournament title that advanced VCU into the NCAA Tournament.
In 2012, Finley oversaw the team's transition to the Atlantic-10 Conference, where the Rams posted a 10-4 league record as part of a 25-6 overall mark, finishing third in the 12-team league before falling in the conference tournament semifinals. VCU excelled both on the court and in the classroom, finishing third in the country in blocking (3.10 blocks per set) and combining for a 3.2 team grade point average.
Finley went to VCU from Arizona Western College, where he served as head coach from 2001 to 2005, compiling a 137-37 (.787) record over four seasons. The team was ranked in the top 10 nationally all four years using players he recruited from the United States, Brazil, and Europe. He had been the assistant coach at UTEP for two seasons before heading to Arizona Western.
A high school volleyball coach from 1992 to 1999, Finley has run his own volleyball camps since 1995. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Sul Ross State University in 1983 and has been an instructor at Texas A&M University, Arizona Western College, and El Paso Community College.