SANTA BARBARA, Calif.— Head coach Nicole Lantagne Welch and the UC Santa Barbara Women's Volleyball team have announced a promotion within its coaching staff naming Matt Jones its Associate Head Coach. Jones has served as an assistant coach the last four years.
"I am grateful that Nicole is willing to bestow this new title on me," Jones said. "I believe we have a great working relationship, and I don't think this changes anything from a practical standpoint, but it means a lot to me that she thinks I am deserving of it. I hope to use it as motivation to commit even more to the future success of this program. The 2019 season was a great year for us, but we have a lot more to prove and are still yearning to earn the next Big West title for this program."
Jones has filled just about every role on the coaching staff serving as the defensive coordinator his first four years and recently moving to the offensive side of the ball. He was also recently appointed the program's recruiting coordinator.
This past year Jones became the first Gaucho women's volleyball coach to be named to the 2020 AVCA Thirty Under 30 list, which honors up-and-coming coaching talents at all levels of the sport.
"Matt has grown tremendously as a coach, along with our program over the four years he has been with us," Lantagne Welch said. "His work ethic, adaptability, trainability and connection to the players, willingness to learn, and collaboration for the good of the program are some of the reasons why his impact on Gaucho Volleyball is so strong. I feel fortunate and enjoy being able to work with him and grow the program on a daily basis. There is no doubt that Matt has earned this title and we look forward to the quickly approaching season and building on our recent success. Our current group of 21 driven student-athletes, along with Matt, [Adlee Van Winden] and myself are ready to go after that Big West Championship and NCAA's and can't wait to get started and be competing again."
Since Jones' arrival, the Gauchos have won 48 matches and have had 11 Big West All-Conference selections. In just his third year with the program, the team's last full season of competition, he helped lead UCSB to one of its best seasons in recent history. The Gauchos went 23-6 overall with a 12-4 conference mark and earned a four-set win over No. 2 Texas in the 2019 NCAA Tournament. It was the program's first postseason win in 15 years.
Lantagne Welch, Jones, Van Winden and the Gauchos will be looking to build on that season this fall.