Brian Heffernan Named as the Sixth Head Volleyball Coach at Flagler
ST. AUGUSTINE – The Flagler College department of
athletics announced this afternoon the hiring of Brian Heffernan as
its sixth head volleyball coach since 1992. His first official day
will be Monday (Feb. 6).
Heffernan succeeds Taylor Mott who had an impressive 13-year run as Flagler head coach, posting a 304-158 record to go along with three Peach Belt and Florida Sun Conference Coach of the Year honors as well as two NCAA national quarterfinal appearances. Mott has relocated to Tennessee with her husband and two children.
“Brian not only has a tremendous volleyball background, he is a man of character who genuinely cares about the overall development and success of the student-athletes,” said Flagler’s Director of Athletics, Jud Damon. “We believe he has great leadership and recruiting abilities as well as the instructional and motivational talents to improve upon the success our program has enjoyed the past three seasons. Brian already has a vision of what this program can be, and I believe he can make it happen.”
Heffernan comes to Flagler with a wealth of coaching experience at the NCAA Division I level, including the past four seasons as an assistant coach at the University of Wisconsin. In his previous coaching positions, Heffernan’s trademarks have been excellence in the classroom, successful recruiting, and tenacious defense.
In his four-year stint at Wisconsin, he coached student-athletes who earned 26 Academic All-Big Ten honors and five were named to the Big Ten’s All-Freshman Teams. While at Wisconsin, he recruited the No. 7 recruiting class (2011) and the No. 8 recruiting class (2010) according to Prep Volleyball. Wisconsin played in front of the third-largest average attendance in NCAA Division I with better than 3,700 fans per home match in each of his three seasons.
As a head coach, he posted a record of 39-87 at Washington State
University from 2004-07. He coached one CoSIDA Academic
All-America, three Academic All-District selections and 12 Academic
All-Pac-10 Conference selections. Heffernan coached one player to
All-Pac-10 honors and five to Pac-10 All-Freshman Teams. His 2005
club led the league in blocks per match (3.50) and block assists
(604). Heffernan’s 2006 team posted the highest grade point
average in the history of the program.
Prior to his time at Washington State, Heffernan was an assistant and associate head coach at the University of Minnesota (2000-03). The Golden Gophers won the Big Ten crown in 2002, and went to the sweet 16 in the same year. Minnesota advanced to the final four in 2003. In his time at Minnesota, Heffernan helped coach two Big Ten Players of the Year, the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, 10 All-Big Ten Conference selections, six AVCA All-Americans, one CoSIDA Academic All-America, and two eventual Olympians.
“I want to thank Director of Athletics Jud Damon, and President Dr. William T. Abare, Jr. for this tremendous opportunity,” said Heffernan. It will be an honor to work at Flagler College where a world class education is met by the desire to provide the very best student-athlete experience. I would also like to thank the search committee and coaches who helped make my visit to Flagler an outstanding experience. I look forward to teaming with the student-athletes and staff to build upon the great accomplishments of Flagler volleyball.”
He also has a wealth of international coaching experience. In the summers of 2009 and 2010, Heffernan served as an assistant coach at the USA High Performance Championships. From May-July of 2003, he was a training assistant for Team USA’s women’s volleyball team, under Minnesota head coach Mike Hebert, who were preparing for the Pan American Games. In the summer of 1999, Heffernan was the head coach of the United States Junior National Team who participated in the World Championships in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
Heffernan earned his bachelor’s degree in secondary education, biological sciences from Pennsylvania State University in 1993 and his Masters in applied kinesiology from the University of Minnesota in 2006. He lettered on the men’s volleyball team for three seasons (1991-93) and earned the Penn State Scholar-Athlete Award. Heffernan helped the Nittany Lions to a pair of Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (EIVA) championships and berths into the NCAA final four. He began his playing career at Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., and was on the team that won the 1989 Midwest Intercollegiate Volleyball Association title. Following graduation, he served as an assistant on Penn State’s 1994 National Championship team – the first volleyball team, men’s or women’s, to win a national title from a school east of the Mississippi River. He has a wife, Carol, and three daughters – Kate, Jane, and Lucy.
Flagler College is a member of NCAA Division II and the Peach Belt Conference. The Saints have won the conference regular and post season titles in each of their three seasons in the league, including last year’s 31-7 overall record and 13-1 mark in the conference. Flagler loses three players to graduation, including its first American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-American in setter Olivia Snipes. The Saints finished 14th in the final AVCA Top 25, its highest ranking in the program’s history. Flagler returns four starters, and libero Casey Gnann - the PBC Defensive Player of the Year. Honorable mention All-America outside hitter Dianna Craine will return for her senior season in the fall.
What they are
saying about Brian Heffernan
“Brian is a leader who has a continuous vision for the players and the program. He has a creative mind and an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and methods to improve the team. His unique combination of intensity and laughter allows the athletes to compete at the highest level and enjoy what they’re doing. Brian understands the mental and physical needs of the athletes. His use of yoga with our team has helped the athletes be the healthiest they have been in recent years. Brian has impacted us tremendously as a recruiter. He has connections throughout the country and he is a tireless worker. He thrives in competitive situations and seeks athletes who are passionate about becoming the very best.” – Pete Waite, University of Wisconsin head women’s volleyball coach
“I recently retired after 35 years as a head coach in Division I women’s volleyball. During that time I hired and worked with several assistant coaches. Brian Heffernan was one of the very best that I have ever worked with. Brian worked for me for four years, from 2000-2003. During his tenure, our teams at the University of Minnesota reached historic milestones qualifying for four NCAA Tournaments, winning a first-ever Big Ten Championship (2002) and advancing to our first NCAA final four (2003). His contributions to each of these achievements were essential. Brian is multi-talented. In the language of a coach he is an all-skill player. He is a great recruiter. He possesses great character. He is loyal and he is honest. He is a gifted teacher of skill and tactics. His professional knowledge base is outstanding. He also demonstrates a wonderful touch in dealing with people. “ – Mike Hebert, University of Minnesota retired head women’s volleyball coach and AVCA Hall of Fame Coach
“I met Brian in 2000 while he was working at the University of Minnesota as an assistant coach. At Minnesota I watched Brian help to transform a group of young athletes into an eventual Big Ten Champion and NCAA final four team. Brian’s teams have always had solid fundamentals, played hard and competed together. In his time at Washington State, Brian’s leadership helped to transform the team culture as well as attract the type of athlete who would eventually be able to compete within the Pac-10 Conference. Brian worked tirelessly as a recruiter and in a very short period of time he had Washington State moving in a positive direction. Having spent many years in the Pac-10, I know he left the program in a much better place than when he arrived.” – John Dunning, Stanford University head women’s volleyball coach
"Brian Heffernan has had a tremendous impact at every program he has worked with. Without exception, through his hard work and skill he has left each program better than when he arrived. Brian has a great eye for talent and understands very well what it takes to win at the highest levels. He is considered among the most skilled coaches in the country and is very well respected as a coach who develops and cares for the student-athletes and the teams he works with. Based on Brian’s knowledge of the game, his ability to recruit and develop talent, as well as, his personal skills, he is poised to develop a nationally competitive program." – Christy Johnson, Iowa State University head women’s volleyball coach
“As a former collegiate athlete and experienced beach player, Brian understands the mind and the heart of a competitive volleyball athlete. He can also effectively teach the necessary skills and tactics to win at the highest levels both indoor and on the sand. In my times working with Brian I always appreciated his ability to methodically build skills and teach tactics through a series of progressions. This style allows his athletes to transfer and to apply concepts quickly. Although Brian is a terrific coach, he is an even better person. The quality that I admire most about Brian is his ability to relate to and challenge his athletes in a positive and compassionate way.” – Nicole Branagh, University of Minnesota (1997-00), two-time AVCA All-America, AVP Rookie of the Year (2005), AVP MVP (2007), 2008 Beijing Olympics – Beach Volleyball, currently No. 13 on the FIVB Beach World Tour
"To this day when I have a new coach Brian is always my standard of measure. I confidently speak for all of my teammates that our experience with Brian was not just about volleyball but also about developing life skills. He showed us that you could lead by teaching. Through his example we all witnessed a person who is process driven and more concerned with our journey than he was with our outcomes. Above all, Brian often put the needs of others before his own and in doing so he created a program culture where we cherished our commitments to each other and the goals we strived to achieve as a team. I will always be grateful for my years spent playing for Brian. I am now 31 years old and volleyball has taken me all over the world. If not for Brian I likely would not have become a 3 time NCAA All American at Wisconsin, a 2 time Big Ten Champion, a Wisconsin graduate or a professional volleyball player (13 years).
I hope I will someday be able to pay all of this forward.“ – Sherisa Livingston, University of Wisconsin (1998-01), Big Ten Freshman of the Year (1998), three-time All-Big Ten, Big Ten Player of the Year (2000), three-time AVCA All-America
"Brian is a dedicated student of the game with the innate ability to motivate, teach, and rally his team to understand the daily efforts and mindfulness that ultimately leads toward a larger goal. From day one as our primary team trainer, Brian instilled in us the fierce desire to play with and for each other. His unmatched technical and tactical abilities helped us focus each skill and drill in practice to ultimately win games and journey our way to our ultimate prize. His carefully planned training and scout sessions taught us to think for ourselves on the floor. It’s these mindful practices that helped lead us on the road to success, winning the Big Ten in 2002 and making the final four for the first time in school history in 2003." – Cassie Busse-Kimes, University of Minnesota (2000-03), two-time All-Big Ten, Big Ten Player of the Year (2003), two-time AVCA All-America, two-time Academic All-America, USA National Team (2004-09), professional volleyball player (2004-current)