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Legendary Kiwi coach receives special award

Olympic gold-winning coach Hugh McCutcheon was presented with Volleyball NZ International Achievement Award at a breakfast in Wellington today (Tuesday, May 12).

McCutcheon, 45, guided the United States men’s team to gold at the Beijing Games in 2008 and coached the US women to silver in London four years later.
The Kiwi is currently head coach of the division one University of Minnesota women’s team and is in New Zealand holding three clinics for rookie and experienced Kiwi coaches.
Volleyball NZ Chief Executive Paul Cameron attended the World Congress in Italy last year and was swamped with comments about the Kiwi and what he had achieved in a global sport with 250 million registered players.
“People across the five FIVB confederations involving 220 countries acknowledged Hugh's achievements, referring to him as a ‘super coach’. He is a legend on the world stage,’’ said Cameron.
VNZ president Jock Murley said: “We have taken this opportunity to recognise this legendary coach as he works in New Zealand. He is a wonderful international sports ambassador for New Zealand volleyball and sport in general.’’
The award was presented by Pru Bell (pictured with Hugh) a VNZ board member, at the breakfast where a range of sport and business leaders were addressed by Hugh about his journey from Canterbury schools and club volleyball to US elite coach.
Born: Christchurch
Educated: Shirley Boys’ High School
Left NZ at 20 to play in US, Finland and Japan
Took up coaching to pay US college tuition fees
Rose through the ranks to become head coach 2005
Overall record as coach of US Men’s and Women’s teams of 213 wins- 72 losses
Olympic Gold in 2008 (men) and Silver in 2012 (women)
World League Champions (2008) Men
Grand Prix (2012) Champions Women (2010, 2011, 2012)
Both teams ranked World No.1 during his tenure
Hugh has an MBA from the Marriott School of Business and an MSc in
Exercise Science from Brigham Young University
Olympic gold-winning coach Hugh McCutcheon was presented with Volleyball NZ...
 Olympic-gold winning volleyball coach Hugh McCutcheon will spearhead the push for more women’s coaches in New Zealand with three clinics here from Sunday to Tuesday (MAY 10-12).
The Christchurch-raised McCutcheon, 45, left New Zealand when 20 and won gold as coach of the United States men’s team at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and silver with the US women at London four years later.

He now coaches the division one women’s college team at the University of Minnesota.
Volleyball NZ is running a year-long programme with financial backing from Sport NZ to establish more women as elite and schools’ coaches here.
VNZ coaching advisor Mike Dudson said any coaching advice and insights McCutcheon could pass on would be invaluable to our national team coaches and rookies coming through the ranks. And his experiences coaching female athletes would be especially relevant.
“Of our 15 or so New Zealand junior and senior national team coaches only one was female and with girls’ volleyball now our most popular summer sport we need more women coaching women.
‘’We wanted to create a culture where women could feel they had the support to become successful coaches.’’
Dudson said playing opportunities are booming with over 30 Kiwi female players now on full scholarships in a US college system that has 15,000 female volleyball scholarships compared to 120 men’s, and could soon add 10,000 more with beach volleyball now an NCAA sport.


Hugh McCutcheon, 45, was raised in Christchurch, leaving New Zealand at 20 to play professionally in the US, Finland and Japan, eventually branching into coaching to pay his college tuition fees and going on to become United States men’s head coach in 2005.

He led the US to an emotional gold at the Beijing Olympics after his American father-in-law was murdered in Beijing just before the competition started, and his mother-in-law seriously wounded when they were attacked at a tourist attraction.
McCutcheon returned to the US until his mother-in-law was out of danger and returned to win enormous praise for his courage and steely resolve in guiding the US to a 3-1 triumph over Brazil in the final, after beating Serbia and Russia 3-2 in the quarter and semifinals.

His ability get the job done under huge pressure, saw the US Olympic Committee award him the 2008 USOC coach of the year award, over such coaching luminaries as Bob Bowman (coach of US swimmer Michael Phelps) and basketball’s legendary Mike Krzyzewski, who also won gold at Beijing.

McCutcheon is the only coach, in any US Olympic team sport, to lead a men’s and women’s team (silver 2012) to the podium – and it happened at consecutive Olympic Games.
USA Volleyball, in recognition of his services to the game, awarded him 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 programmes in the US and McCutcheon’s team at Minnesota was ranked in the top 10 in 2012 and 2013.

His successes make him one of New Zealand’s highest-achieving coaches in any code, and certainly rank him as our best volleyball export. 
He will present coaching sessions in Auckland (Sunday), Wellington (Monday) and Christchurch (Tuesday) as part of Volleyball NZ’s Women’s Coaches’ Programme.
Hugh McCutcheon is available to interview at 3pm on Sunday May 10th at the Allan Brewster Stadium in Papatoetoe. Phone interviews available on request.
Contact VNZ media manager Gary Birkett
09-8338312 or 0279156160.


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