La Verne names volleyball coach

The University of La Verne is no longer without a women’s volleyball coach as former Olympic assistant coach Marlon Sano has been chosen to direct the Leopards program.

He becomes only the third head coach at the school since 1974, following Jim Paschal (1974-1997) and Don Flora (1998-2008). The program has produced three national championships, 22 SCIAC titles and 26 All-Americans.

Flora resigned earlier this spring to take an assistant position at Division I New Mexico State.

“This has been a program that has been great for an awful long time,” Sano said. “I’m just hoping to keep building on what has been done here and maybe raise the bar even higher.”

Sano was an assistant for the 1984 U.S. Olympic silver medal-winning volleyball team and is currently a co-director and head coach for the USA High Performance Development camp series. That series develops and implements the techniques and tactics taught to coaches and players in conjunction with the USA National team.

He inherits a La Verne squad that went 27-3 and reached the NCAA Division III Championship match in 2008. The Leopards graduated just two players.

Sano’s collegiate resume includes a recent stint as an assistant coach at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. He was also an assisant at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo from 1995-2005 and most recently served as lead assistant at Cal State Los Angeles. He also was the head coach at Utah State (1991-94), an assistant coach at Cal State Fullerton (1989-91) and a head coach at Southern California College (now Vanguard University) from 1988-89.

Sano also has extensive junior club coaching experience and is the founder and co-director for the Ocean’s Elite Juniors Volleyball Club.

Sano said he has spent much of the last week contacting the returning players, incoming recruits and support staff. Both of Flora’s assistants left for other jobs so he is looking for help as well.

“It has been a weird year and there are some good coaches still out there,” he said. “I didn’t want to put the cart before the horse so that’s what I am looking into now.”

Sano earned his bachelor’s degree in speech communications and his teaching credential from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.