University of Evansville Athletics Director John Stanley has announced the hiring of Manolo Concepción as the head volleyball coach for the Purple Aces.
Concepción comes to the University of Evansville after working in several capacities in volleyball in Puerto Rico. He was formerly the head coach at Western Carolina for two seasons and assisted at UE in 2008, helping lead the Aces to their last Missouri Valley Conference Tournament appearance.
"We are happy to welcome back Manolo Concepción to the University of Evansville family," Stanley said. "He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience that will truly be an asset to our program. His familiarity with UE along with the Missouri Valley Conference as a whole made him stand out as the person we need to lead our program."
Since 2011, Concepción has served as the President of Sports Consultants Network, LLC, a company that he co-founded. His company works with athletes in several sports and is regarded as the top consulting agency of its kind in Puerto Rico. Their services have helped to get athletes over $5.5 million in scholarships, breaking every record the country has seen.
His company has helped over three-dozen athletes earn NCAA and NJCAA scholarships. It helped to give the athletes organized and developed training guides that helped them to be successful while trying to gain an education at a student-athlete in the United States.
"I feel privileged and happy to have this opportunity, it will be a great challenge for me in my life," Concepción said. "I look forward to continuing to develop the Evansville program. They have a great program and play in one of the top conferences in the nation."
"Having the right philosophy and system in place along with getting the right kids into our system is very important moving forward. I can't wait to work with the girls, there is a bright future for Evansville and I appreciate the opportunity that John (Stanley) and Sarah (Solinsky) have given me."
Along with his work at the Sports Consultants Network, Concepción has served as the assistant coach and defensive coordinator with the Guaynabo Mets of the Superior League in Puerto Rico. In that position, he was in charge of scouting, blocking assignments and back row defensive locations. He also plans practices while working in other facets with his squad.
The Superior League is regarded as one of the top ten leagues in the world and Concepción has worked in coaching athletes worldwide including the United States, Puerto Rico, Italy and others.
Prior to that, he spent two years as a Change Agent and Head Coach at the School of Sports in San Juan. He rebuilt their program inside and out, working with young players on developing short and long-term goals using micro and macro cycles. He taught them how to get to a different playing level using scientific-based programs.
Concepcion's extensive coaching career began when he founded the Island's Best Volleyball Club in Puerto Rico at the age of 21 and soon after became its president. In 2004, he became the assistant coach for the men's volleyball team at the University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez before being named the head coach of the semi-professional team Vega Baja in the Puerto Rican League at the age of 22.
The Toa Baja, Puerto Rico native began his collegiate coaching career in 2005 where he worked at Colby Community College in Kansas. In 2007, at just 25 years of age, he was the youngest head coach in the history of the Kansas Jayhawk Conference. He led the Trojans to a 20-19 mark in his only year as the team's head coach.
In early 2008, he became an assistant at UE. He assisted the club jump from a seventh place finish in 2007 to reaching the Missouri Valley Conference tournament in 2008. He also helped the Purple Aces in upsetting national powerhouses Missouri State and Northern Iowa during his one-year stint.
Those efforts at Evansville helped him gain his first Division I head coaching job at Western Carolina. He held that post for two years while taking on the task of rebuilding the program. He implemented instructional goals and objectives that have seen the program turn around in recent years.
Before his coaching career, Concepcion played college volleyball at the University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez before transferring to Concordia College in New York. In 2002, he was drafted by the San Sebastian Caribes of the Puerto Rico Professional Superior League. He was a member of the Puerto Rico Youth National Team in 1998-1999 that played at international tournaments held in Venezuela and Dominican Republic and also played club with three primary Puerto Rican clubs: Club Vaqueros, Club Torrimar, & Club Arsel.
Concepcion received his Bachelor of Arts degree in organizational management and leadership from Ashford University in San Diego, Calif. in 2008 before earning his M.B.A. from Ashford in 2011. He is certified in all three national coaching levels given by the Volleyball Federation of Puerto Rico and completed the international coaching certification given by the International Volleyball Federation which allows him to coach in any part of the world.
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING
"Manolo is a very good technical trainer and works very hard to help make his players become the best they can be. He has a great passion for the game and I have enjoyed talking volleyball with him over the years. I am excited to have him back in the Valley and know with his connections he will make an immediate impact on the Evansville volleyball program."
- Melissa Stokes – head coach – Missouri State University – has led MSU to seven NCAA Tournaments and is the all-time leader in MVC history in conference wins
"Manolo worked our camp the summer prior to his time at Evansville. What we learned during those weeks is obviously the same thing the University of Evansville saw during his tenure there: in Manolo you have a compassionate, hardworking coach, who has a deep love and respect of the game. He has all the skills to be successful in this profession."
-Mary Wise – head coach – University of Florida – 2-time AVCA National Head Coach of the Year, 12-time SEC Coach of the Year
"I am excited for Manolo. He is a great person and a good coach. He is honest, loyal and hard working. He cares about his athletes and will work extremely hard to help them reach their potential in the classroom and on the court. He has tremendous knowledge of the game of Volleyball and is a good teacher. Manolo will do wonderful things at The University of Evansville."
- Jose Gandara – head coach – University of Miami – former assistant coach at the University of Washington
"This is a great situation for him and he will be an asset for the program and University. He works extremely hard and is a tremendous teacher and communicator. It was a very good experience for me to be able to work with him. The players we worked with liked him a lot and he was a great asset for us to be able to make it to the playoffs together. His knowledge in practice and running the team was great for us and will be the same at UE."
- Javier Gaspar – mentor, former Penn State and USA National Team setter, coached together with Guaynabo Mets and in Pro League
"It is a great opportunity for Manolo. He is a well-prepared young coach. He has a lot to offer a great program like the University of Evansville."
- Monchito Hernandez – former Penn State outside hitter, Beach Volleyball Olympian, current coach for Corozal Pinkin Pro Team
"He was my middles coach and was always very friendly and extremely smart. His knowledge of the campus and how things run at UE makes him a great choice for the position. He was a great leader and I looked up to him when on his team."