Harvard’s all-time kill leader takes head job at SBCC

Matt Jones is the new head coach for Santa Barbara City College's Men's Volleyball program.

Matt Jones is the new head coach for Santa Barbara City College’s Men’s Volleyball program.

Matt Jones, a four-year starter at Harvard University, has been named men?s volleyball coach at Santa Barbara City College. He takes over for Armen Zakarian, who left last month to become the top assistant at two-time defending NCAA champion UC Irvine.

?About halfway through my career at Harvard, I started thinking about coaching,? said Jones, who became Harvard?s all-time leader in kills (1,218), digs (452) and aces (97) in 2012, when he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Applied Mathematics. ?UCSB coach Rick McLaughlin is good friends with my coach at Harvard and he mentioned there was an opening at SBCC, so I decided to go for it.

?My coaches have always stressed the importance of serving and passing. You want to put pressure on the other team from the service line and teams that pass the best seem to have the most success. It?s also important to play solid defense and have good team chemistry.?

Jones started every match during his four-year career at Harvard. As a senior, he was a co-captain and first-team All-Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association choice on one of the best teams in school history. He ranked No. 9 in the nation in kills (3.83 per set) and aces (0.42) for the Crimson, who went 18-6 overall. Harvard took second in the EIVA with a 10-4 mark and was ranked in the AVCA coaches poll for the first time, finishing at No. 15.

Jones pounded 345 kills in his senior year and ranks No. 2 on Harvard?s all-time list. The 6-3 outside hitter played pro volleyball in Luxembourg with Volley Bartreng in the 2012-13 season.

?As a Harvard graduate, who is the all time leader in kills, digs and aces, Matt represents the ultimate balance of a student-athlete,? said Vaquero athletic director Ryan Byrne. ?He is passionate, focused and has very high expectations. Matt really understands how to get our student-athletes prepared for the next level, both in the classroom and on the court.?

Jones has coached several teams in San Diego?s club volleyball program and plans to coach youth teams in the Santa Barbara Volleyball Club. He grew up in the San Diego area and led his La Jolla High squad to CIF Div. 3 titles in basketball and volleyball in 2008.

?Our main goal will to be to make the playoffs,? said Jones. ?Southern California volleyball is deep in talent and I?m looking forward to the challenge. On top of that, we have the mission of the athletic department to be strong in academics.?