Irons joins Gaucho volleyball coaching staff

UC Santa Barbara men’s volleyball head coach Rick McLaughlin has hired former Gaucho star Cullen Irons as an assistant coach, it was announced this week.

Cullen Irons - UC Santa Barbara Men's Volleyball

UCSB’s Cullen Irons

Irons, a member of UCSB’s Final Four team of 2011, will replace Vince Devany, his 2011 teammate, who has signed a contract to play professional volleyball in Belgium.

“Cullen brings a great level of experience to our staff,” said McLaughlin. “Everything he went through during the last three years of his Gaucho career leading up to his team’s appearance in the 2011 National Championship match is exactly what our current Gauchos are experiencing in pursuit of our goal of a national title. Sharing his experiences will definitely help our guys stay focused and motivate them to do what it takes.”

Since wrapping up his collegiate career in 2011, Irons has been participating in the Professional Beach Volleyball circuit, where he has partnered with Blaine Nielsen, a 2012 UCSB graduate. He will continue to train and pursue a professional beach career while at UCSB.

The Hanford, Calif. native had at least 250 kills and 100 digs in all three of his years as a starter for the Gauchos, finishing with career marks of 953 kills, 575 digs, and 174 blocks. His career dig total ranks eighth in program history. He placed second on the team behind Jeff Menzel in kills in both 2010 and 2011. Irons was named to the All-NCAA Tournament Team in 2011 after leading the team in kills and ranking second in blocks and digs over two games at Penn State’s Rec Hall as he led the Gauchos to the cusp of a National Championship.

In Belgium, Devany will reunite with former teammate Menzel with the club Noliko Maaseik. Both players figure prominently in the UCSB annals, with Menzel ranking in the program top-10 in kills (second, 2,112), swings (first, 4,569), service aces (second, 135), and digs (sixth, 604) while Devany’s 4,625 career assists rank third in team history.

Tyson Norton remains as the first assistant under McLaughlin.