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Peter Cruz Named UAM Head Volleyball Coach

July 18th, 2012 by

UAM Director of Athletics Chris Ratcliff has announced the hiring of Peter Cruz as head volleyball coach. Cruz becomes the third head volleyball coach in the seven-year history of the program.

Cruz replaces Casey Shingler, who resigned earlier in the month to become an assistant coach at the University of Pennsylvania. Cruz will begin his new role at UAM on July 30.

“We are excited to have Peter join the UAM athletics family,” said Ratcliff. “We had to move extremely fast throughout this process with the season being so close, but I am confident we found an excellent person to lead our volleyball program. Peter is familiar with this area and a Division II program, so I know he has the knowledge and the connections to produce winners on and off the court.”

“I am tremendously grateful for this opportunity to help continue to rebuild the Arkansas–Monticello volleyball program,” said Cruz. “I am looking forward to this season as well as the future and believe that with the talent on the roster we will make strides within the Great American Conference. I would like to thank AD Chris Ratcliff, Dr. Lassiter and everyone I met on campus during the interview process for being supportive and welcoming. I am excited to be at an institution like UAM with such great things happening on campus both academically and athletically.”

Cruz comes to UAM with five years of collegiate coaching experience, most recently an assistant coach at The American University in Washington, D.C. for the 2011 season. He helped lead the team to a 23-11 overall record and a 13-1 conference record. American won the Patriot League regular season and postseason championships, as well as earned a berth into the NCAA Division I national tournament.

Among American’s 2011 roster members were four all-conference selections, including the Patriot League player of the year, freshman of the year and scholar-athlete of the year.

Prior to his one-year stint at American, Cruz was the assistant coach at the University of West Alabama for two seasons, highlighted by a 30-8 record in 2009. He helped lead the Lady Tigers to the program’s first ever Gulf South Conference regular season championship and a spot in the conference tournament finals. UWA received three all-conference honorees that season.

Off the court during his tenure at UWA, he helped the team post a 3.6 cumulative grade point average and raise $1,400 for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama during “Dig Pink” awareness matches.

Cruz entered the collegiate ranks as a head coach for two seasons at Cape Fear Community College in Wilmington, N.C. for the 2007 and 2008 seasons. He tallied a 31-18 two-year record and two runner-up finishes in the Carolinas Junior College Conference. He oversaw every aspect of the program, including recruiting, travel, budgeting, scholarship allocations, planning and running practices, game strategy and academic supervision.

He helped his squad raise the team GPA from a 2.3 to a 3.29 in just one year to become the first team at Cape Fear to earn the National Junior College Athletic Association All-Academic Award.

On the court at Cape Fear, he produced five players who earned first team all-conference recognition during his two year tenure as head coach.

In addition to his collegiate coaching experience, Cruz also has worked extensively at the club level. Since 2000, he has been the head coach of nine club programs throughout North Carolina, Alabama and D.C. In addition, Cruz was the head coach for the U.S. Marine Corps men’s volleyball team from 2008-10. He led the squad to the gold medal in 2008 with a 6-0 record and was selected to coach the All-Armed Forces team in the World Military Volleyball Championships in Germany.

Away from volleyball, Cruz supervised 12 resident advisors as a community coordinator in the housing department at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from 2006-07. He also served two years in the U.S. Peace Corps, teaching English and life skills to teenagers in Rommani, Morocco from 2004-06.

Cruz is a 2003 graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill with a degree in management and society.

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