Fuerbringer named U.S. men’s volleyball assistant coach

Matt Fuerbringer, a beach volleyball star and a former Estancia High standout athlete, has joined the U.S. men’s volleyball team staff as an assistant coach, as announced by new coach John Speraw, the former UC Irvine men’s volleyball coach.

Fuerbringer, 39, has nearly 10 years of experience coaching junior club volleyball and has spent the last year as a volunteer assistant coach under Speraw at UCLA.

Fuerbringer is well-known for being a pro beach volleyball player and came close to making the 2012 U.S. Olympic beach volleyball team. He played volleyball for Stanford University and also professionally overseas.

“I was honored and humbled to be asked to be an assistant coach for the U.S. men’s national volleyball team,” Fuerbringer said in a FIVB press release. “Coaching is what I have always wanted to do and working with John at UCLA has helped me realize I’m ready to take my coaching career to the next level.”

Speraw is also excited about adding Fuerbringer.

“Matt is an absolutely outstanding coach even though he doesn’t have much formal experience,” Speraw said. “He’s been a professional on the beach and an excellent player on the beach for a long time. He’s got great presence. He’s articulate and intelligent. His professional experience gives him empathy with the players and their situation. I’m excited about him joining our staff and know he’ll be a great coach for Team USA.”

Fuerbringer has already begun work at the USA Volleyball offices in Anaheim.

Speraw, who was named the U.S. men’s team coach on March 25, has known Fuerbringer since the two played against each other in college. Speraw was a middle blocker at UCLA and Fuerbringer played outside hitter at Stanford.

Prior to working with Speraw at UCLA, Fuerbringer coached at Mizuno Long Beach, a program directed by his wife Joy McKienzie-Fuerbringer, and founded Team Rockstar three years ago.

Fuerbringer grew up in Costa Mesa and played volleyball and basketball at Estancia. At Stanford, Fuerbringer was a four-time AVCA All-American and a member of the 1997 NCAA National Collegiate Men’s Volleyball Championship team. His final block sealed the first NCAA men’s volleyball title for Stanford.

After Stanford, Fuerbringer played professional indoor volleyball from 1999 to 2003.

Fuerbringer has played pro beach volleyball since 2003. In 2012, he and partner Nick Lucena were edged out for the United States’ final Olympic Games berth in a battle that came down to the final qualification tournament. Fuerbringer and Lucena finished fifth in the FIVB Olympic rankings and were the highest ranked team not to go to London because the United States was limited to two teams per gender.

Speraw will complete his staff in the coming days, including a second full-time assistant coach and a technical coordinator.

— From staff reports