June 17, 2013
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan volleyball program and head coach Mark Rosen have announced the hiring of two members of its coaching staff. The Wolverines hired Kyle Luongo to be their volunteer assistant coach and Ben Belanger as their director of volleyball operations.
Luongo joins the Wolverines after spending the past three seasons as the assistant boys' varsity and junior varsity coach at Harvard-Westlake High School in Studio City, Calif. He preceded Harvard-Westlake with a one-year stretch as head boys' and girls' varsity volleyball coach at Heritage Christian School in Granada Hills, Calif., while simultaneously serving as volunteer assistant coach for the men's volleyball team at Pierce College in Woodland Hills, Calif.
Luongo began his coaching career at Gold Medal Squared in 2007 while still playing collegiately, and is currently the lead camp coach, traveling to various states leading high school volleyball athletes in 4-day skills camps. He also served as Head Coach for the Los Angeles Volleyball Academy from 2007-2011, running tryouts, evaluating talent and planning and executing practices. Prior to his coaching career, Luongo was a standout volleyball player at Pierce College (2006-07), starting as setter for a team that lost in the state finals his freshman year and the state semifinals his sophomore year. He then transferred to Pepperdine University (2008-10), playing for Coach Marv Dunphy. After he was redshirted his first year, he helped Pepperdine make it to the MPSF finals in 2010. Luongo graduated from Pepperdine in 2010 with a degree in sports medicine.
"We did a national search for the volunteer position and Craig Boller (who now is a full-time coach at Delaware) set a great example for what that person can bring to our program," Rosen said. "He made a great impact so we had a high expectation for what we were looking for. In that national search, Kyle really emerged to be, to me, the best candidate. He comes from a very different background than all of our other coaches, which we're excited about. He played for Marv Dunphy, one of the legends in our sport and Marv is a fore founder in kind of a volleyball movement called Gold Medal Squared. It's kind of a different coaching philosophy than we've been exposed to, so he comes from that background and I think that's going to be a giant asset for us to grow our mindset and grow our approach to this team and this program. We were looking for something different and I think we got it. Aside from his volleyball background, Kyle is a great person, a great young coach that really wants to move up through the profession. That's exactly what we're looking for -- someone that has great ambition to be in this profession for the long run."
Belanger is no stranger to Michigan, joining the volleyball staff after spending the past year as an administrative assistant in the Athletic Director's Office at U-M. He also served as an administrative assistant for the University of Michigan men's basketball team in 2012, where he assisted the head coach with day-to-day office tasks and handled general correspondence with the public, among other responsibilities. He also served as a compliance assistant at U-M from 2010-2012, working closely with coaches and Operations Directors to make sure each varsity sport met compliance standards. Belanger graduated from the University of Michigan in 2010 with a degree in sport management and is currently pursuing a master of arts in higher education student affairs at Eastern Michigan University.
"We feel like Ben is a great hire at our director of volleyball operations," Rosen said. "It came together quickly in the sense that he was already in the department and was open to make a move to a different part of the department. Ben has great knowledge. He's a sports management major. He understands logistics, how an athletic department -- specifically our athletic department works -- so we're very fortunate to have him. We're excited to have him be a part of our program. In the short period of time he's been here, he got hired and we had to immediately prepare for a trip to Brazil and Argentina. He was at the forefront of that and did a great job so I'm very excited about having him involved in our program. I think he could be a huge asset."
"We're very fortunate to have some very stable entities within our program," Rosen concluded. "Having Leisa as our assistant for every year we've been here is huge. Erin has been such a great addition to our program and we're hoping to be able to keep her for a long time. She makes such a great impact in the gym, in the office with recruiting and in every aspect of our program. She's very, very involved and very effective. We've always felt like we want to have a staff that's very committed and very invested in what we're doing and that's also very close, that enjoys being around each other. You add Mike (Favre), our strength coach, into that and I think we've got a great group that I can't wait to get into the 2013 season with."
Michigan opens the 2013 schedule on Friday, Aug. 30, against Clemson in the Xavier Invitational in Cincinnati, Ohio. First serve is scheduled for noon. The home opener for the Maize and Blue is on Friday, Sept. 6, against Oregon State in the Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge.
Contact: Kent Reichert (734) 763-4423