Born and raised in the heart of the inland empire, Kurt Vlasich attended Claremont High School where he was part of the charter program at CHS. Vlasich helped form a talented group of players at CHS, and started a men’s program with the Wolfpack in 1993. He played as a varsity middle blocker in 1993 and 1994 while helping the pack go into CIF both seasons. Vlasich went on to play for Pepperdine University from 1995-1998 under Marv Dunphy where he had successful seasons as both a training setter and a serving specialist during the 1997 season. He graduated from Pepperdine University in 1999 with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology.
Vlasich began his coaching experience when he came back to Claremont High in 1995, 1996, and 1997 as a volunteer assistant coach and setting coach with Don Braunecker. He helped train and develop setters for Claremont High School and worked with other players on an individual basis. Vlasich became JV Head Coach and Varsity assistant in 2001 for the Claremont Men’s program at CHS where he helped win 2 JV tournaments, and lead CHS varsity into the CIF playoffs.
After the 2001 season, Vlasich began coaching in the club ranks and coached the Foothill Volleyball Club Men’s 18-1 team. In the summer of 2001, Vlasich brought a team with below .500 average to over .500 and a substantial improvement at JO’s leading the 18-1 program to flight brackets. The following summer, Vlasich coached the Foothill Boys 18-1 program into the Bronze bracket at Junior Olympics, where his team captured first place in the bronze bracket (12th overall).
In 2002, Vlasich began coaching for an upstart volleyball club in the Inland Empire called Club West Volleyball. From 2003 to 2011, Vlasich was the club director for Club West Volleyball, and also coached at the 17’s and 18’s age groups. Vlasich coached the Club West 18-1 and 17-1 teams for 11 seasons, and made Junior Olympic appearances in 10 of his 12 seasons. Most notably was seasons 2010-2013, where his 18-1 team made 4 consecutive 18 Open appearances, and included a seventh place finish nationally in 2011. In 2014, Vlasich was part of a team of coaches and administrators who formed a new volleyball club called "Forza 1 Volleyball Club" based in Temecula and Ontario. Vlasich continues to coach and be an administrator for Forza 1, as well as assist in development and growth for the club in the Inland Empire at the new "Forza 1 Taraflex Complex" in Ontario. In the 2017, Vlasich coached the Forza 1 North 18 Under Armour team to a Gold Medal in the 2017 Junior National Championships in the Patriot division of USA Volleyball. Over the course of his 18 years of coaching volleyball, Vlasich has been a part of 9 different medals with his teams, most notably, a 14 Open gold medal in 2013.
Vlasich began coaching at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Volleyball in 2002 under Coach Dianna Graves. He was a fixture as the head assistant coach for nearly a decade. Over the next nine seasons, Vlasich helped build a team that made significant improvements from year to year, and finished in 2010 with an overall record of 18-11 and a 3rd place finish in SCIAC. In 2011, Vlasich was named interim coach of the CMS Volleyball program, and guided the CMS Athenas to a 19-11 record overall with a 10-4 conference record helping CMS make the SCIAC conference playoffs. In 2012, Vlasich was named Head Coach for CMS and 2012 saw similar production for the CMS Volleyball program finishing with a 17-10 overall record and a tie for 4th place in the SCIAC conference with Occidental College. 2013 turned out to be historic for the Athenas, as Vlasich led the team to a 25-7 record and an appearance in the NCAA tournament. Vlasich has been an important part of the CMS Volleyball Program and entered 2014 with a young and talented roster hoping to finish at the top of the SCIAC standings once again. Since 2013, Vlasich has led CMS to 5 consecutive 25 win seasons, and captured the SCIAC championship in 2015, 2016, and 2017.
After a stellar 2013 season which accumulated 25 wins on the season, Vlasich led the Athenas to a 27-7 record in 2014 and a second place finish in the SCIAC conference. 2014 also saw a second consecutive appearance in the NCAA tournament for the Athenas. In the 2014 NCAA tournament, CMS Volleyball won the NCAA Western Regional Championship and competed in the 2014 Volleyball Championships in Newport News, Virginia as one of the "Elite 8" teams. The CMS Volleyball team finished the 2014 season ranked nationally at number nine by the AVCA. CMS also stayed in the AVCA top 25 national rankings for the duration of the 2013 and 2014 seasons, making it the longest streak of rankings in program history. In 2013, Kurt Vlasich was named the AVCA Division III West Region Coach of the Year, and in 2014 was named SCIAC Coach of the Year. In 2015, Vlasich was again honored with the AVCA West Region Coach of the year.
After capturing the 2017 SCIAC championship, Vlasich was named 2017 SCIAC coach of the year, but the success of 2017 was not finished for Vlasich or the CMS program. After breaking 30 wins for the first time ever, CMS went on to win 22 matches in a row, and captured the NCAA DIII National Championship for the 2017 season. CMS finished the season ranked #1 in the country, and had a record of 31-5.
Coach Vlasich is married to Cindi Vlasich, and they have a 10 year old daughter named Rylan, and a 7 year old daughter named Arden. They currently reside in Upland, California.
Ed Gover is the Coaching Director of the Santa Barbara Volleyball Club. He is responsible for the mentoring and development of the coaching staff of the club.
Ed is also a mainstay among the SBVC coaching staff in the younger age groups. In 2015 he guided his 13's team to a Gold Medal at the AAU West Coast Championships and in 2006, his squad won the Bronze medal in the American Division at Junior Nationals.
During the fall season, you can see Ed as the Head Coach for the Santa Barbara City College Women’s Volleyball Team, which has been doing for over 25 seasons. He has had a successful tenure during his time there, guiding the team to the postseason 11 times, and in 1999 led the team all the way to the State Finals. In 2015 Ed was named the Southern Cal Co-Coach of the Year and the WSC North Co-Coach of the Year, giving him five conference Coach of the Year awards.
Additionally, Ed teaches P.E. at Santa Barbara Junior High School. Before moving to Santa Barbara, Ed was previously a volunteer assistant for a Long Beach State 49ers Women's Volleyball Team that won the NCAA championship in 1989. He has also won 2 CIF Southern Section Championships, one State Championship and one state runner-up finish while coaching high school in the Los Angeles area.
Many of you may be familiar with Dana, as she is the co-owner of East Beach Volleyball Academy with SBVC alumni Katie Spieler. Dana was a four-year, D1, full-scholarship outside hitter for Villanova University where she was team captain, recipient of the 1,000 Career Digs Achievement Award, 4-year member of the Big East Academic All-Star Team, and awarded 1st Team All-Tournament. After college, Dana played professional beach volleyball on the AVP, NVL, and NORCECA tours. She also enjoyed coaching a club volleyball team at Gary Sato and Sinjin Smith’s HAX volleyball club, and multiple volleyball camps for Marv Dunphy at Pepperdine. Dana has been trained by some of the best coaches in the country, including Liane Sato, Gary Sato, Marv Dunphy, Gilad Doran, Gene Selznic, and Dane Selznic. More importantly, Dana has a passion for introducing the sport of volleyball to kids of all ages and abilities and she shares the Club's mission of building self-esteem and life skills in all of our young athletes. Dana will be a fun and exemplary role model and we are confident that her value will extend well beyond the Youth Program in the years to come.
Keely hails from the very competitive region of Southern California. She competed in high level club volleyball for 6 years, culminating with her SCVC 18-1’s team taking 3rd Place in the Open Division of Junior Nationals. Keely was recruited to play Division 1 volleyball out of high school at Northern Arizona University and her freshman year led her team in digs. For personal reasons Keely decided to leave NAU and transfer to El Community College, where she again led her team, and this time the state of California in digs/game as her team made it to the State Tournament. In her final 2 years of eligibility, Keely transferred to UCSB where in her senior season the team won their conference and advanced to the NCAA Tournament.
Keely has previously been a Head Coach with SBVC several years ago, before taking a position as the Program Director for the All-American Volleyball Camps. There she spent time traveling the country, while coaching a multitude of different high school programs. While living in Colorado, Keely became the Program Director for Steamboat Springs Middle School’s 8th grade program, where they qualified for conference champions for the first time in 7 years. In 2016, Keely was the assistant coach for Bishop Garcia Diego high school’s indoor and beach team as well as the assistant coach for SBVC’s 18 Blue team and helping out with the Volley Pints youth clinic. We are excited to have Keely back in Santa Barbara, as she will be helping out in several of our programs - travel, youth and beach!
SBVC Coaching Staff
Amy Buffham was a senior on the Westmont Women's Volleyball team this past season. She is a four-year starting setter who has contributed to two back-to-back conference championships and three NAIA National Tournament appearances for the warriors. In her time at Westmont, she was named Conference Setter of the Week eight times - six of which were in her senior year where she was also voted on the All-Conference Team for the Golden State Athletic Conference. Amy has coached clinics for her club, Legacy Volleyball Club, over summers when she went home. She has coached Blenders in Santa Barbara along with coaching the JV beach volleyball team at Dos Pueblos High School and is excited to continue coaching in Santa Barbara for SBVC as she finishes her time at Westmont.
Kelsey grew up in Santa Ynez Valley, playing for the Santa Barbara Volleyball Club. She first fell in love with volleyball while watching her mom play in a coed league with Todd Rodgers when she was a little girl. She started playing competitive volleyball in fifth grade and went on to win aSilver medal at the Junior Olympics with her SBVC 16-Blue team. Kelsey went on to be the setter for Santa Barbara City College for two years and then got recruited by The College of Idaho and got 9th at nationals. She received numerous awards during her college and high school career including being ranked sixth in the country among all NAIA setters.
Her coaching career began at SBVC, as a Blenders coach and assistant travel coach. When she moved to Santa Cruz to finish up her schooling, she continued her passion to coach there for Club Cruz. Kelsey led their youth indoor program, coached travel teams and also specialized in beach. Kelsey has been back in Santa Barbara area for the last two years and lead the youth programs in 2017, along with the beach non travel program. She also head coached the 13 White team last year and assisted the 12 White team. This year she helped with the youth programs and now will become head coaching the 15kk team and head coaching the 16s team. She is very passionate about coaching and excited for the new year.
Erika has over 25 years of playing experience, and 18 years of coaching experience, ranging from youth (boys and girls), to high school (boys and girls) and Women's Division I Assistant Coaching experience at North Dakota State University. Erika was a Setter in college, but enjoys coaching every position and helping players with game strategy and technical skills. She has also played and coached beach volleyball and recognizes the benefit of both games to bring out the complete team player. This will be her first year at SBVC coaching but has since been with LAVA and her own club, which she had started locally (Montecito Volleyball Club for 4 years).
Luke is a local Santa Barbara kid whose volleyball career started playing for the legendary Jon Lee at San Marcos High School. Upon graduation, he continued his career playing at Westmont College. Luke has coached at the high school level (freshman to varsity) at several different high schools out of the area, including Washington, DC where he lived for many years. Upon returning to Santa Barbara, Luke coached boys volleyball at his Alma Matter of SMHS, and now is currently the JV girls coach of Providence High School. Luke’s oldest daughter now plays in the club and we are excited to have him join the coaching staff.
My name is Michelle, a new coach for the 13 2’s team. I’m 20 years old and currently attend SBCC in hopes of transferring to UCSB. I’m from Marin County, just north of San Francisco. There, I played volleyball for 9 years and have coached all throughout my high school career. I chose to coach here in Santa Barbara so I could stay involved with the sport and share my knowledge and experience with girls who love the volleyball as much as I do!
Sean is originally from the Huntington Beach area. He spent four years playing high school ball at Edison High School while playing his club ball at the Balboa Bay Volleyball Club. He went on to play a year at Orange Coast College before attending UCSB. He is also an avid beach player and can be seen playing down at the Pier most weekends. Prior to coaching at SBVC Sean coached 3 years at Balboa Bay Volleyball Club in the 16s and 14s age groups. He also coached a season of Frosh Soph at his alma mater at Edison. Sean is currently a 4th year student at UCSB studying Communications. I look forward to having a great season!
Sarai is originally from Prescott, Arizona and played Club Volleyball for the distinguished Club Red volleyball program. As an Outside Hitter/Libero, Sarai was recruited to and played for Southwestern University in Texas, where she majored in Business. During her time there the team won their conference Championship and advanced to the NCAA tournament.
Sarai has been a top level assistant within the club for several years, as well as she has also previously coached at the youth levels while in Texas. We are excited by her energy and passion for the game that she brings to our SBVC coaching community.
During the day, Sarai works as a Financial Adviser for Edward Jones Investments; and she also finds time to be a Board Member for the Athletic Round Table. Sarai is looking forward to many more years helping the club and these young athletes succeed!