SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (July 7, 2011) – University of Sioux Falls President Mark Benedetto often refers to his campus community as a family. He has taken this philosophy to a new level, by hiring the husband/wife tandem of Joel and Andrea McCartney to lead the Cougars’ volleyball program.
In the absence of USF Director of Athletics Willie Sanchez, who is out of town, Benedetto today announced that Joel McCartney has been hired as head volleyball coach. His wife, Andrea, will serve as the Cougars’ assistant coach.
“The hiring of Joel and Andrea is indicative of an enhanced investment that our University is making in order to create a positive experience for our student athletes,” Benedetto said. “This hire is critically important, as our volleyball program transitions into the NCAA and the highly competitive Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.”
A native of Papillion, Neb., McCartney most recently served as the head women’s volleyball coach at the University of Georgia. In four seasons with the Bulldogs, he compiled a record of 62-55. In 2010, McCartney led the Bulldogs to a record of 11-14 and a five-set upset over the 20th-ranked Tennessee Volunteers.
In his first season at Georgia in 2007, McCartney coached the Bulldogs to the biggest turnaround in school history as that year’s squad posted a 17-13 record following just a six-win campaign in the previous season, a program-best turnaround of 11 more wins.
Prior to his tenure at Georgia, McCartney coached Winthrop University (South Carolina) to a 167-49 record in six years, including a 34-3 campaign in 2006 and a fifth-straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Boasting a winning percentage of .773, McCartney’s Eagles won five-consecutive Big South Conference Championships in his tenure with the Winthrop program.
“USF has hired one of the most accomplished volleyball coaches in the country,” Sanchez said. “Joel has a proven track record of building programs into championship-caliber teams and I am looking forward to watching the team practice and compete next fall under Coach McCartney.”
USF remains a candidate in good standing to advance into the third and provisional membership year for NCAA Division II affiliation. Official notification of its candidacy status will be announced by the NCAA in July 2011. USF has also been accepted as a new member of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC), with all athletic teams participating in a full conference schedule beginning in the 2012-2013 academic year.
The McCartneys are well aware that their work is cut out for them, as the NSIC is regarded as one of the most competitive volleyball conferences in all of Division II and home of the four-time NCAA Division II Champion Concordia University (St. Paul).