June 1, 2009
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Robin Davis has been named assistant volleyball coach at the University of Notre Dame, it was announced today by head coach Debbie Brown. Davis, who has spent the last three seasons as the head coach at Boise State, rejoins the Irish after spending five seasons with the Notre Dame program from 2002-2005. He replaces Greg Smith who was named head coach at the University of Toledo earlier this month.
"I'm really excited to have Robin back on staff," Brown said. "He brings a wealth of knowledge to our staff and I believe he will nicely compliment what we have in place. He had a vital role in helping our team achieve the highest national ranking in the history of our program (when Notre Dame was ranked 5th by the AVCA in 2005) and I'm confident he will help get us there again."
With the arrival of Davis in 2006 Boise State got an immediate boost to its program. In his first season with the program, Davis posted the largest win increase for a first-year coach in Bronco history in leading the squad to 13 wins, five more than the `05 edition of the Broncos. Davis' `06 total eclipsed that of Darlene Bailey, the winningest head coach in Boise State history (342 victories), who led the Broncos to a four-match turnaround in 1979.
For the first time since joining the Western Athletic Conference in 2001, Boise State swept two of its conference opponents (Louisiana Tech and Fresno State) during the '06 campaign. The Broncos also defeated Nevada for the first time since 1997, ending the longest losing streak against a single team in school history.
As an assistant coach with Notre Dame for four seasons, and as an associate head coach for one season, Davis helped lead the Fighting Irish to five consecutive BIG EAST Conference regular-season championships and appearances at the NCAA Tournament, reaching the round of 16 in `05. Notre Dame also finished that year with its highest-ever national ranking - No. 12 in the CSTV/AVCA poll and No. 11 in the Molten/Volleyball Magazine poll.
Notre Dame led the BIG EAST and ranked among the top five nationally in NCAA Division I in blocked shots in each of the five seasons following Davis' arrival - after the program had never previously cracked the national top 10. The 2003 squad led the nation in blocking (3.72 per game) and broke the school record for the second year in a row (after the previous mark had stood since 1988). Additionally, then-sophomore Lauren Brewster was tops in Division I in individual blocking (1.78) in `03 after finishing fourth as a rookie. Those marked the first two NCAA statistical crowns in Notre Dame history.
Davis was instrumental in the development of Brewster, as well as two of her classmates, Lauren Kelbley and Carolyn Cooper. In 2004, Brewster became the first Notre Dame player ever to be named an AVCA All-American.
Kelbley, who was a middle blocker during the first half of her career before moving to outside hitter, was twice tabbed honorable-mention All-America after being the rookie of the year for both the BIG EAST Conference and the AVCA's Northeast Region in 2002.
In his four years, Davis has helped Brewster, Kelbley, and 2001 graduate Malinda Goralski account for three of the top eight individual seasons by Irish players in hitting percentage and four of the top nine in blocking. Brewster set a Notre Dame freshman record for both blocks (175) and block average (1.68) in 2002, while her 161 block assists were the most-ever for an Irish player in a season.
In Davis' first season, Goralski led the BIG EAST Conference in blocking (1.66) and finished sixth in Division I, while the team's average of 3.42 was good for fifth nationally and the top mark by a Notre Dame squad since 1988. The average was 0.49 higher than Notre Dame's mark in 2000. Goralski, the BIG EAST Player of the Year, also was second in the conference with a .379 hitting percentage that was the second-highest by an Irish player in school history.
In 2002, the Irish broke the 14-year-old school record with a block average of 3.66 that was bettered by only one Division I team (Nebraska). That season also saw Brewster, Kelbley, Emily Loomis and Katie Neff each finish with 100+ blocks on the season, a feat they would duplicate in 2003 after it had never been done before in Irish history.
Prior to coming to Notre Dame, Davis spent two seasons at Northern Arizona, helping it qualify for the NCAA Tournament in 1999 for the first time in school history. Northern Arizona also captured a share of the Big Sky Conference title in 2000, another program first. Davis served as Northern Arizona's recruiting coordinator and was heavily involved in on-court coaching, focusing on the middle blockers and helping with advanced scouting.
Davis led Biola to the NAIA national semifinals twice, including a loss in the title match in 1997. His Biola squads posted 20 wins six times, advanced to the regional semifinals seven times, and captured two league titles. In `97, Biola earned the national sportsmanship award. Davis left Biola as the winningest coach in the history of the school, accruing 221 wins and a .734 winning percentage.
A 1979 graduate of Northern Arizona with a degree in physical education, Davis also served as athletics director at Brethren Christian High School in Cypress, Calif., spending nine years coaching volleyball, basketball and baseball. While at Brethren Christian, he also had assistant principal duties.
As a player, Davis was a member of the NAU men's volleyball club team while in college and spent time on the USVBA indoor tour (1979-85), the beach volleyball circuit (1982-87), and the AVP tour (1986-87). When he left California, Davis held an AAA rating as an open beach player.