Scates to bid farewell after golden anniversary

Al Scates is the King Midas of college volleyball, his golden touch bringing great fortune to the UCLA’s men’s program.

And now it’s been announced that he’ll be leaving after his golden anniversary.

The UCLA athletic department today announced that the venerable coach will be retiring after 50 years at UCLA following the 2012 season, after an unsurpassed 21 national championships.

“Al Scates stands alone in his contributions to the sport of men’s volleyball,” UCLA athletic directory Dan Guerrero said in a statement. “His dedication, passion, and stewardship of the game ushered UCLA into an era of widespread achievement in Olympic sports and broadened athletic opportunities for collegiate men across the country. While bittersweet, Coach Scates’ final year at the helm of Bruin volleyball will be a well-deserved season-long celebration for an individual whose lifetime achievements are truly remarkable. Al is among the greatest coaches in the history of college sports and a legend in the annals of UCLA Athletics. He is a Bruin in every sense of the word and we are so thankful for his 50 years of service to the university.”

Scates led the Bruins to 19 NCAA championships and 24 conference titles, and in 49 seasons, he has coached 52 first-team All-Americans and 27 Olympians.

Scates was selected national coach of the year six times and has been inducted into four halls of fame, including the America Volleyball Coaches Association and the Volleyball Hall of Fame.

“It is a privilege to coach the fine men that have participated and continue to compete for UCLA volleyball,” Scates said in a release. “I have enjoyed being a continuous member of UCLA volleyball since I walked onto the team as a junior in 1959. Our coach at the time, Dr. Glen Egstrom, taught me how to play the game and after I earned my Master’s degree in 1962, Glen encouraged me to apply for the head coaching job when he left campus. I was hired by Athletic Director Wilbur Johns to coach the 1962-63 UCLA team and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.”