Bill Hogan, Seattle University Director of Athletics, announced today that James Finley will be the new head volleyball coach of the Redhawks, effective Feb. 1, 2013.
Finley served as head coach at Virginia Commonwealth University for the past eight years, compiling a 151-116 (.566) record since 2005. 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.
This past season, 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.
"I am very excited to receive the opportunity to move the Seattle U program forward as it looks to advance within Division I and the Western Athletic Conference," Finley said. "It was enjoyable to meet with the people within the Redhawk athletics department involved in the hiring process, and I look forward to working with everyone at Seattle U."
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.
"James built successful programs at VCU and Arizona Western, constantly competing for conference championships, and I am pleased that we were able to hire someone with the experience that he has. I am confident that he will do whatever it takes to bring Seattle U's volleyball program up to a similar level," said Hogan.
The Seattle University volleyball team finished ninth in the Western Athletic Conference in 2012 with a 4-14 league record as part of a 9-19 overall mark. Eight players who saw action during the 2012 campaign, as well as four student-athletes who redshirted, are eligible to return for the 2013 season.
What other coaches say about James Finley
"I've coached against James a few times over the years and have always been impressed with how prepared his teams have been. This past year's VCU team was extremely talented and athletic and might have been just another win or two away from making it back to the NCAA Tournament. I think Seattle U just made a hire that will get that program on an upward trajectory quickly." - Kelly Sheffield, University of Wisconsin head volleyball coach, former head coach at the University of Dayton
"I have heard great things about James, not just from knowing him, but also from talking to other coaches about his work ethic. He has international connections, which gives him the ability to get foreign players who can help the team. He has the ability to change a program immediately." - Sherry Dunbar, University of Indiana head volleyball coach