Reed Sunahara enters his second season at the helm of the Mountaineers after being named the fourth head coach in West Virginia University volleyball program history in March of 2015.
In his first season guiding the Mountaineers, Sunahara led the program to a thrilling 3-2 win over Marshall. The victory marked WVU’s first over its in-state rival since 2010, bringing the Golden Ball Trophy back to Morgantown.
Outside hitter Morgan Montgomery and libero Gianna Gotterba flourished under Sunahara’s tutelage. After posting 38 kills in her freshman season in 2014, Montgomery went on to lead WVU in kills per set, including a career-best 31 in the win over Marshall. Her 3.74 kills per set and 4.14 points per set ranked third in the Big 12. Gotterba developed into a solid defensive leader on the floor, ranking sixth in the league with 3.56 digs per set.
Montgomery, Gotterba and Hannah Shreve all earned Big 12 Academic Team honors for the Mountaineers. Shreve, who completed her bachelor’s degree in three years, earned the Dr. Gerald Lage Award from the league and was named a WVU Foundation Outstanding Senior for her work in the classroom.
Sunahara brought more than 15 years of NCAA Division I experience and strong ties to USA Volleyball. In addition, he has coached five AVCA All-Americans, three AVCA Region Freshman of the Year honorees, three conference Player of the Year selections, six conference Freshman of the Year selections and 26 all-conference honorees.
He joined the Mountaineers after spending the previous season as the head coach at Buffalo, accruing a 17-15 mark in his one season with the Bulls.
Sunahara served as the top assistant for the U.S. National Team from March of 2013 to January of 2014, helping Team USA to a 25-6 record and a No. 2 world ranking at that time. He also served as the head coach for Team USA during its gold medal run at the 2012 Women’s Pan American Cup in Juarez, Mexico, and was a NORCECA instructor, guiding both the Jamaican National Team and U18 NORCECA Women’s Continental Championship teams to gold medals as well.
Prior to his time with USA Volleyball, Sunahara spent 11 seasons as the head coach at Cincinnati, where he led the Bearcats to eight NCAA Tournament appearances and recorded 20 or more wins every season. The Bearcats won the 2011 Big East Tournament, finishing with an overall record of 27-10 and a league mark of 12-2 while a trio of players garnered all-conference accolades. Cincinnati was also the 2009 and 2010 Big East regular season champion, with Stephanie Niemer garnering Big East Player of the Year and AVCA All-America honors both seasons. The Bearcats advanced to the NCAA Second Round in 2009, 2010 and 2011.
The Bearcats won a share of the first-ever Big East regular-season crown in 2008, posting an impressive 14-0 home record. Sunahara guided the program to the NCAA Second Round for the second time in program history, with Jessie Nevitt earning her fourth First-Team All-Big East honors and her third All-America accolades. From 2000 to 2007, Cincinnati posted double-digit conference wins on six occasions.
Sunahara garnered Big East Coach of the Year accolades in 2008 and 2010, and was the C-USA Coach of the Year in 2001. Prior to joining the Big East, Cincinnati won the 2001 and 2003 C-USA Championships, qualifying for the NCAA Tournament both seasons and advancing to the NCAA Second Round in 2001. He departed as the winningest coach in UC history.
Sunahara spent two seasons as an assistant coach with the Bearcats, helping them to a C-USA Tournament Championship in 1999. He served as the head coach for the University of Toledo from 1995-96 after serving as an assistant coach for the Rockets from 1993-94. Sunahara got his start in coaching as an assistant with the men’s team at UCLA, his alma mater, from 1990-93 after serving as a graduate assistant in 1987 and 1989. He helped the Bruins to national championships in 1987, 1989 and 1993.
A voter in the AVCA Top-25 poll from 2002 to 2011, Sunahara was the C-USA Volleyball President from 2002 to 2003 and was the Big East Volleyball President from 2006 to 2007. He was also a head coaches committee representative from 2006 to 2008 and served on the AVCA All-American Selection Committee in 2014.
A native of Hilo, Hawaii, Sunahara was a two-time All-American and three-time NCAA Champion at UCLA alongside Olympians Ricci Luyties, Doug Partie, Dave Saunders and AVP legend and current U.S. Olympic Team coach Karch Kiraly before graduating with a degree in sociology in 1989. He won a pair of USVBA National Championships with Nike/Molten in 1987 and 1990, and went on to play professionally for Cisneros Isla Verdes in the Canary Islands, Spain.