New volleyball coach hired

Winning and a focused attitude was stressed by a new volleyball addition to the Fresno State athletic department.

Lauren Netherby-Sewell was introduced as the new women’s volleyball coach Thursday.

Fresno State Director of Athletics Thomas Boeh said he was pleased to have Netherby-Sewell join the Bulldogs’ coaching staff.

“She has been identified by many as a rising star in the industry,” Boeh said. “When we called around and talked to the volleyball community nationally, her name came up regularly.”

Netherby-Sewell had previously been a head coach at Hofstra University in New York. In two seasons, she coached the Hofstra program to a 43-19 record overall. Netherby-Sewell also took the team to its first ever NCAA tournament win and the program’s first Colonial Athletic Association championship since 2000.

“I hope I can go from a rising star to an actual star,” Netherby-Sewell said.

She said that the Fresno State administration’s impressive business plan drew her to the program. Netherby-Sewell has plans to change the culture immediately.

“Culture is the most important thing. I talked to team members about taking control of what they can. Right away they can be the hardest working team in the country. Maybe not national championships, but they can be the fittest team and work the hardest in the classroom,” she said.

Netherby-Sewell plans to keep the players that she has now. She expects the players to earn their way and to have discipline and accountability. Winning is her immediate goal, but Netherby-Sewell knows that winning won’t instantly come easy.

“They need to be pushed in a new direction and train at a higher level.

This is what they have told me they need,” Netherby-Sewell said. “I like the athletes to train at a level where matches become easy — it doesn’t mean we’re running all the time — but I like the athletes to be prepared before a match. They don’t have to look over at the bench because they’re ready to go.”

Netherby-Sewell replaces Ruben Nieves, who won only 18 games in three seasons as head coach. Netherby-Sewell wants to take Bulldog volleyball to the next level in a state and a town that has top talent in the country.

She had to come to California to recruit when she was at Hofstra.

Netherby-Sewell said she was attracted to the honesty and the winning business plan that the administration set out in front of her. She realizes that she will have to build the young team up in a challenging conference.

“The glory years are coming, and it’s certainly going to be with this staff,” Netherby-Sewell said.

She also was impressed by the facilities, particularly the Save Mart Center.

“I walked in there and I was like ‘wow this looks like an NBA locker room,’” she said. “I’d want to play there. That’s great for recruits.”

The Lindy Vivas lawsuit against Fresno State did not affect Netherby-Sewell’s decision to come to Fresno State at all.

“The volleyball world’s pretty small, we know about everything,” Netherby-Sewell said. “That’s in the past,” she said. “This administration is not connected to that. It certainly would have been a factor if they were. This is new blood around here.”

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