UCLA Men’s volleyball coach John Speraw added U.S. Olympic head coach to an already impressive resume Monday, taking the reins after serving as an assistant during the last two Olympics.
“I am honored to have been selected to coach this elite group of talented U.S. players,” Speraw said. “And I appreciate UCLA’s support in allowing me to pursue this tremendous opportunity.”
USA Volleyball CEO Doug Beal told the AP he feels Speraw, who led little known UC Irvine to three national championships before being selected to coach his Alma Mater in Westwood, has plenty of international experience as well as the full support of the team after helping them to gold back in Beijing:
“He’s a terrifically talented coach who has had a remarkable level of success at the college level. He knows the current U.S. men’s player pool very well from his experiences over the last two quads.”
Speraw will officially be introduced Tuesday at the American Sports Centers down in Anaheim, where he’ll train the team for a shot at reclaiming gold in Rio.
Steve Langton, who was described by driver Steven Holcomb as the “best push athlete in the world,” announced his retirement today.
A collegiate sprinter and jumper at Northeastern University, Langton decided to try bobsledding after watching the 2006 Winter Olympics. He filled out an online athlete resume, and, by the 2010 Games, he was an Olympian.
At the Sochi 2014 Games, Langton teamed with Holcomb to win a bronze medal in the two-man race. It was the first Olympic medal in the event by American sled since 1952. He claimed another bronze medal as a member of Holcomb’s four-man “Night Train.”
“In Sochi I competed on the world’s biggest stage, I won two medals for my country and I did so along not only the best teammates but best friends anyone could ever ask for,” Langton told USA Bobsled.
Langton, who has a 62-inch standing box jump and can squat more than 500 pounds, was described by Men’s Health as “the most powerful winter Olympian” in the lead-up to 2014 Games.
“[Langton’s] work ethic and discipline rubbed off on the other athletes and made everyone better,” said USA Bobsled & Skeleton Chief Executive Officer Darrin Steele. “I have no doubt that he’ll find success in the next chapter of his life as well.”
Langton appeared on “The Amazing Race” in 2015 with his girlfriend, Aly Dudek, an Olympic short track speedskater.
None of the push athletes on the current U.S. roster have Olympic experience. Holcomb will compete in the World Cup opener this Saturday with Sam McGuffie, a former University of Michigan football player. The race will be McGuffie’s World Cup debut.