Zakarian leaves SBCC for top assistant job at UC Irvine

Armen Zakarian, the head coach of the SBCC men?s volleyball team for the last three years, has been named the No. 1 men’s assistant at UC Irvine.

Zakarian, a former star at SBCC and UCSB, went 23-29 in three seasons with the Vaqueros. In his first year (2011), he led the team to second place in the Western State Conference and a Regional playoff berth. He was named Coach of the Year in the conference.

Armen Zakarian coached the SBCC men's volleyball program for three years.

Armen Zakarian coached the SBCC men’s volleyball program for three years.

?I have learned so much about myself at SBCC, as well as the city of Santa Barbara,? he said. ?The athletics department has been so supportive and nurturing over the last three years, helping me grow each and every day.

?Leaving the young men and women that I’ve had the pleasure of coaching recently will be the hardest thing I have to do. They mean more to me than anything I’ve done in my time as a head coach.?

Zakarian will be joining a program that in May won its second straight NCAA title and fourth in seven years. David Kniffin is the head coach. He is just the second coach in NCAA men?s volleyball history to win a national championship in his first year at the helm, according to UCI.

?I have known David since my playing days at UCSB (2006-07), when he was an assistant at UCI,? said Zakarian. ?Kniffin is a workhorse and he does a great job of getting through to his guys. Irvine is a family, from the athletics department, to the campus community, to the guys on the team. I’m honored and excited to be an Anteater!?

Zakarian has worked with USA Volleyball since 2010 as a High Performance coach for youth and has also been a coach with the Santa Barbara Volleyball Club. He was an assistant for SBCC women?s volleyball the last two years. They went 16-7 last year and claimed the WSC North title with a perfect 10-0 record.

?Armen has raised the bar for our men?s volleyball program in every way,? said athletic director Ryan Byrne. ?The academic and athletic expectations and performance have been phenomenal as evidenced by an outstanding retention and transfer rate.

?Armen really did a tremendous job preparing student-athletes for the four-year level.?

Byrne plans to hire a new men?s volleyball coach before the start of the 2013 fall semester. The job information is listed at JOBS.SBCC.EDU.