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Learn from the Best - Hugh McCutcheons New Zealand Coaching Programme announced

Volleyball New Zealand are proud to announce that New Zealander Hugh McCutcheon has confirmed 3 coaching clinics and a breakfast for this coming May. Details can be found at

Hugh will present in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch as part of New Zealand Volleyballs (supported by Sport New Zealand) Women’s Coaches Programme (WCP). The WCP is a specific initiative aimed at supporting the development of female coaches and coaches of female athletes.

Hugh has already carved one of New Zealands most successful coaching careers in one of the worlds true global sports of volleyball. Read about his journey...

Hugh McCutcheon’s courageous struggle to win gold in men’s volleyball at the 2008 Beijing Olympics is perhaps the greatest-ever untold New Zealand sports story.

As coach of the high-profile United States team in a global sport which has over 250 million registered players, second only to football, McCutcheon’s rollercoaster ride from the junior ranks at Shirley Boys’ High School in Christchurch, through the elite American college system with Brigham Young University in Utah, and then onto the coveted role as US men’s head coach, is truly inspirational.

McCutcheon’s US head coaching appointment in 2005 was equivalent to Kiwi coach Ricki Herbert guiding England at football, or Tab Baldwin mentoring the US in basketball.

What made McCutcheon’s gold medal triumph in Beijing all the more incredible were the harrowing circumstances surrounding it.

Just before competition started his father-in-law, Todd Bachman, was murdered by a crazed Chinese national at a tourist attraction in Beijing, and his mother-in-law was badly injured.

McCutcheon immediately stepped away from his coaching duties to take care of his family, missing the teams’ first 3 pool play matches. Once Mrs. Bachman’s condition stabilized he returned to the sidelines to finish what the team had started.

He guided the US to wins over China and Japan to finish pool play undefeated. He then lead his team to tense 3-2 wins over Serbia and Russia in the quarters and semifinals.

The towering, catlike Brazilians (defending Olympic Champions and world #1) waited in the final for the third-ranked US but, after losing the first set, McCutcheon tweaked his game plan and guided his players to a 3-1 triumph – the USA men’s first Olympic gold since 1988.

The coach is a vital part of any top-level volleyball match, in the same way as NFL or basketball coaches prowl the sidelines in their sports.

McCutcheon’s steely resolve to get the job done under huge pressure, both on and off the court, won many admirers in sport all over the world. The USOC, in recognition of his work, awarded him the 2008 USOC coach of the year award - over such coaching luminaries as Bob Bowman (Coach of US swimmer Michael Phelps) and Mike Krzyzewski.

He then became the US women’s volleyball coach in 2009. He guided the Team to the world #1 ranking going into the London Olympics, but was denied the golden double when they lost 1-3 to Brazil in the Olympic final.

He is the only coach, in any US Olympic team sport, to lead a men’s and women’s team to the podium – and it happened at consecutive Olympic Games. USAV volleyball, in recognition of his services to the game, awarded Hugh their “All-time Great Coach” award in 2013.

McCutcheon changed jobs after London and moved his family (wife Elisabeth, son Andrew, and daughter Annika) to Minneapolis to start coaching at the University of Minnesota. There are approximately 350 division one collegiate volleyball programs in the US and McCutcheon’s team at Minnesota was ranked in the top 10 in 2012 and 2013.

His successes coaching men and women internationally, professionally and collegiately, make him one of New Zealand’s highest-achieving coaches in any code, and certainly rank him as our best volleyball export.

He will long be remembered for the way in which he handled the Beijing challenge, and the dignified manner in which he overcame a myriad of emotions to win gold with a team that could not have done it without him





NEW ZEALAND got the Easter chocolates with a winning double at the Eastern Oceania volleyball championships at Otahuhu Recreation Centre on Sunday.

The men’s A side beat Samoa 3-1 (25-11, 22-25, 25-15, 25-20) in their final, with a young New Zealand women’s side downing a gallant Samoa 3-1 (31-29, 16-25, 25-21, 25-23) in their final.

Head coach Alister McKenzie said his young side, which featured five 17-year-olds, three 18-year-olds and a 16-year-old, were pushed all the way.

“Samoa are playing some very good volleyball and were more experienced, so our girls have done really well.’’

The New Zealand team will play in this week’s South Pacific club challenge at Otara Recreation Centre as they build towards a series against Australian Universities in September, and the Asian Championships in 2017.

“They all played really well and it’s hard to single one out,’’ said McKenzie, who was also impressed by their 2-1 win over Samoa in pool play.

“That was a very tough game as well.’’

He confirmed overseas-based players and more home-based experienced players would come into consideration for the September series across the Tasman.

Head men’s coach Colin Redpath said their 25-11 win in the first set of the final was “probably the best volleyball in terms of power and precision I’ve seen by a Kiwi side playing at home’’.

But they were rocked 22-25 in the second set as a fired-up Samoa fed off errors and a red card for Tame Malcolm, only for the Kiwis to regroup and ease away in the final two sets.

Redpath said passer/hitter Johann Timmer, of the University of Hawaii and North Harbour, was outstanding.

“It was really good to establish a good culture and as a start of a programme it has been fantastic. The boys are happy.’’

The NZ B men’s side finished third after beating Samoa B in their playoff.







Teams Announced For FIVB U19 World Beach Volleyball Championships and USA-West Coast tournament


Volleyball New Zealand is pleased to announce the team to represent New Zealand in the FIVB U19 World Beach Volleyball Championships in Portugal and teams to represent New Zealand in USA-West Coast tournament in early July. For More Info - Here

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