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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


VNZ Announces National Referee Course for 2015


National Referee Course 2015

 Volleyball New Zealand is pleased to announce we will be conducting a National level referee course at the 2015 Club Nationals in Tauranga.

The National course is for those trying to improve their knowledge of the game and officiate at high-level club matches. It is highly recommended that each team attending Club Nationals (especially those in division I) have a National level referee performing their duties.

The theoretical component of the course will be held from 9:00am to 5:00pm on Tuesday 11th August at ASB Arena Tauranga.

Course Prerequisites

 The National course will be open entry, but placement numbers will be limited. VNZ expects candidates applying for the course to be experienced referees and must have their association’s approval to attend.  In case of more candidates than placements available, VNZ reserves the right to select candidates to try and create a cross section of participants.

Current National or Federation referees (was National A and National AA) are invited to attend as a refresher if numbers permit.

Course Contents

For both courses, candidates will participate in in-depth reviews, explanations and discussions on the FIVB rule book. 

Candidates will be expected to have studied the current FIVB Rule Book, Casebook and Refereeing Guidelines & Instructions prior to attending.  All are available from the FIVB website.

Candidates will be practically assessed several times during the championships as both first and 2nd referees.  Candidates will be appointed to matches by the Referee Delegates (consideration will be taken into account for candidates who are participating the championships).  Candidates will also be expected to help officiate semis and/or finals (if not involved playing).

To successfully complete the courses, candidates must:

·      Attend all sessions and be on time

·      Pass the closed book theory exam

·      Pass the closed book oral exam question

·      Pass the practical assessment requirements of the course

·      Agree to abide by the VNZ referee Code of Ethics

·      While officiating, wear the VNZ Referee’s uniform: Referee top, black pants, white socks (the top is provided as part of the National course)

The National course fee will be $120, including a VNZ referee top.

Course Entry

 To express your interest, please complete the separate 2015 Referee Course Application Form and e-mail to Tim Hulls, Volleyball New Zealand Referee Development Manager at

·      Registration of interest is to be made by 3rd July 2015. 

·      Confirmation of attendance will be made by 17th July.

If you have any questions, please e-mail




Junior Champs Underway


A large turnout of Year 9 & 10 school volleyball teams will be vieing for the 'Island Champion' titles at the Volleyball New Zealand North and South Island Junior Secondary School Championships, being held simultaneously in Tauranga and Christchurch.

The North Island Championships take place at the ASB Baypark Arena in Mount Maunganui from Monday 25th to Friday 29th November, with a field of 49 Girls' teams and 42 Boys' teams participating. Favourites for the top division Girls' title are a raft of local Tauranga teams from Otumoetai, Bethlehem, Mount Maunganui and Tauranga Girls Colleges. Their main challenge is expected to come from Whakatane's Trident High, North Harbour's Rangitoto and Orewa Colleges, and Rotorua's Western Heights High. The dominance of Bay of Plenty sides in the top seedings is expected to draw large crowds throughout the week.

The top Boys' section features a wider spread of teams, with Western Heights leading the way from Orewa and North Harbour's Westlake Boys High, with South Auckland side Manurewa High, and Otumoetai, Bethlehem and Rangitoto all expected to mount a credible challenge. Also featuring at the event will be Girls' and Boys teams from Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Taranaki, Hawkes Bay/Poverty Bay, Manawatu and Wellington.

Down south, the Island event will be played in Christchurch at Pioneer Stadium, and Middleton Grange school, with 39 Girls' and 22 Boy's teams in action from 25th to 28th November.

Girls favouritism is shared equally between Tasman region schools Nayland and Waimea Colleges, and Nelson and Marlborough Girls Colleges, and Christchurch teams from Riccarton, Burnside and Aranui High Schools, and Middleton Grange school.

The southern Boys' title is expected to be fought between schools from the same regions – Nelson, Nayland and Waimea Colleges, with Riccarton and Shirley High being joined from further south by Timaru and Otago Boys High teams in the top seeded positions.

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