UCLA women’s volleyball coach Andy Banachowski, the winningest Division I women’s volleyball coach in history, today announced that he will retire on June 30.
“I am grateful to UCLA for allowing me to be the head coach of the women’s volleyball team for all these years,” said Banachowski. “I have always realized that there would come a time for this wonderful journey called coaching to come to an end, and I have decided to retire when my contract expires at the end of this school year.”
“There will never be another Andy Banachowski,” said UCLA Athletic Director Dan Guerrero. “He has represented this University with class and dignity for over four decades. When we speak of ‘image and substance,’ Andy epitomizes that slogan. He has been instrumental in the growth of his sport during his tenure at UCLA and has left a legacy that will be hard to match. He will always be a Bruin.”
“It has been my honor to work side-by-side with Andy from an administrative standpoint these past few years,” said Sr. Associate Athletic Director Petrina Long, Banachowski’s sport supervisor. “He is an icon to many coaches in his sport. Just as important, he has been a great ambassador for UCLA. All you need to do is speak with the young women he has coached throughout his career and hear the respect with which they speak of Andy to understand the impact he has had on the sport.”
Banachowski and UCLA women’s volleyball have been synonymous since the program’s inception in 1965. He has directed the Bruins for all but two of those seasons, the 1968-69 and 1969-70 campaigns, which directly followed his graduation.
Last month, Banachowski, the first women’s volleyball coach inducted into the National Volleyball Hall of Fame, concluded his 43rd year as the head coach of the Bruins’ women’s volleyball program. UCLA finished the season with a record of 24-9, its 11th consecutive 20-win season, and placed in a tie for second in the Pacific-10 Conference.
On Oct. 31, Banachowski, the winningest coach in women’s volleyball history, won his 1,100th match in a five-set triumph at Stanford. He holds a career record of 1,106-301 (.786).
In 2006, Banachowski led the Bruins to their first Final Four appearance and 30-win season since 1994. UCLA won its first 20 matches of the year and breezed through the first four rounds of the NCAA Tournament with four straight three-game sweeps. Following the 2006 season, Banachowski was honored as the Tachikara/AVCA Division I National Coach of the Year, the second time he has been named Coach of the Year, with the other coming in 1989. He also received Volleyball Magazine Coach of the Year honors for the fifth time and AVCA Pacific Region COY accolades for the fifth time (1989, ’92, ’93, ’98). On five occasions, Banachowski has been named Pac-10 Conference Coach of the Year (1988, ’89, ’93, ’94, ’98).
Banachowski has coached at least one All-American in each of the last six seasons, including three in 2006 with first-teamers Nana Meriwether and Spicer and third-teamer Katie Carter. In 2006, Meriwether became the first player in Division I history to lead the nation in two statistical categories, finishing first in hitting percentage and blocks per game.
UCLA women’s volleyball has earned 42 AVCA All-American honors, to go with 50 Under Armour/Volleyball Magazine All-American awards. Banachowski has also coached players to numerous other awards, including 49 All-Pacific Region honors, 98 All-Conference awards, five Pac-10 Players of the Year and the National Player of the Year in 1992 (Natalie Williams). Eighteen Bruins have earned All-NCAA Tournament accolades, including Williams, who was named Most Outstanding Player in both 1990 and 1991. Williams also won two Honda Awards under Banachowski’s tutelage in 1992 and ’93, with Liz Masakayan earning the honor in 1985.
The Bruins have won six national championships over Banachowski’s tenure, winning the program’s first title in 1972 while affiliated with the Division of Girls and Women’s Sports (DGWS). In 1974 and 1975, UCLA combined for a record of 60-4, winning back-to-back Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) championships. Since 1981 when the NCAA began sponsoring women’s sports, the Bruins have appeared in 11 Final Fours, winning championships in 1984, 1990 and 1991 and earning runner-up finishes in 1981, 1983, 1992 and 1994.
Banachowski has more victories than any other collegiate volleyball coach in history, with the exception of UCLA men’s volleyball coach Al Scates. On Nov. 12, 2005, Banachowski became the first Division I women’s coach to reach 1,000 career victories when the Bruins handed eventual national champion Washington its only loss of the season in a five-game thriller at Pauley Pavilion.
In February 2007, Banachowski was named head coach of USA Volleyball’s Junior National Team. That July, he guided Team USA to a fourth-place finish at the FIVB U-20 Junior World Championships, the best-ever finish for the United States in that tournament.
Banachowski has been involved with the U.S. Olympic Team as a coach many times. He is a former advisor with the U.S. National Team, helping teams during the 1990 Goodwill Games, the 1992 Summer Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain, the 1995 Pan-American Games in Argentina and the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta. Additionally, he coached the West Team in the 1986 Olympic Festival. In 1993, Banachowski was the head coach of the U.S. World University Games squad, a group which achieved the highest American finish in WUG history, earning a silver medal in Buffalo. N.Y.
A total of 22 former Bruins have trained with the U.S. National Team following their UCLA careers. The group includes five indoor and eight beach Olympians. The beach team of former Bruins Annett (Buckner) Davis and Jenny (Johnson) Jordan, as well as former Bruin Holly McPeak, comprised three of the four members of the U.S. Beach Volleyball Team for the Sydney Olympics in 2000. Additionally, Elisabeth Bachman was a member of the 2004 U.S. Olympic Team (indoor) for the Athens Games. On the beach in `04, a team of former Bruins (McPeak and Elaine Youngs) won a bronze medal with Masakayan as their coach. Youngs (with partner Nicole Branagh) returned to the Beijing Games in 2008 with Masakayan as their coach.
Many Bruins have also been involved in the Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP) Tour on the beach, including Davis, Jordan, McPeak, Youngs, Ashley Bowles, Lauren Fendrick and Chrissie Zartman. From 1993-2000, former UCLA players competed in 83 straight professional tournament finals, winning 70 of those events. Bruin former players have won more FIVB International events than players from any other college.
On Oct. 24, 1997, Banachowski became the first women’s volleyball coach in history to be inducted into the National Volleyball Hall of Fame as a coach. He has since become the first volleyball inductee into the Serra High School and San Mateo County Halls of Fame and was inaugurated into the National Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame in June 2009.
In May 2000, Banachowski was presented with USA Volleyball’s highest honor, the All-Time Great Coach Award, and was simultaneously honored with the George L. Fisher “Leader in Volleyball” award, recognizing his off-court endeavors on behalf of volleyball.
The Volleyball Festival has recognized Banachowski with its “Distinguished Service to USA Volleyball” award, and he has also been recognized with the Founders Award for his role as a co-founder of the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA).
As a player, Banachowski was a two-time All-American under Scates, winning USVBA National Championships in 1965 and 1967. After his graduation, Banachowski pulled double-duty with the UCLA women’s and men’s volleyball programs, serving as Scates’ chief assistant from 1972-77, a period in which the Bruins won four NCAA titles (1972, ’74, ’75, ’76). On three occasions (1972, ’74 and ’75), Banachowski won titles with both the men and women.
Originally from San Mateo, Banachowski now resides in Los Angeles. He has two grown children, Bret, who played volleyball at UC Santa Cruz, and Amy, who was a three-year letterwinner from 1991-93 on the Bruin women’s volleyball team.