Jan. 23, 2008
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Former UC Santa Barbara men's volleyball player Lee Nelson has joined the Gaucho coaching staff as Associate Head Coach it was announced Wednesday by 30th year Head Coach Ken Preston. Nelson not only played for the Gauchos, he has also coached under Preston at UCSB.
Most recently, Nelson was the first assistant coach with the Fresno State women's program in 2007. He also served as the second assistant at the University of Nevada (1999-2000). Prior to his move to Reno, Nelson was Preston's first assistant with the UCSB men's squad from 1997-99.
Nelson has also worked with Bishop Diego High School in Santa Barbara as well as the men's and women's varsity teams at Santa Barbara City College.
"I am very pleased to add Lee to our staff here at UCSB," commented Preston. "He has a wealth of experience at all levels of the game. He hasn't been involved in the men's game for a while, but I expect him to adapt very quickly."
Raised in Santa Barbara, Nelson graduated from Santa Barbara High School before moving on to play for UCSB. His Gaucho playing career spanned from 1985-89 and he was a starting middle blocker at the 1988 NCAA Championships where UCSB lost 3-2 against USC. Nelson also played professionally in Europe from 1991-92 and again from 1995-96.
"Lee will be in charge of our very young middle blockers and our tactical blocking during matches," said Preston. "He will also assist in the day-to-day operations of a Division I volleyball program, including practice planning and recruiting.
Nelson graduated from UCSB in 1991 with a degree in history and environmental studies. He holds a secondary teaching credential from Chico State (1994) and a Master's in history from the University of Nevada at Reno (2005).
"Being a local high school player who stayed home to compete for the Gauchos, Lee has a sense of our city and school's history," said Preston. "He was an exceptionally hard worker as a player. He understands the commitment and sacrifices a player must make to contribute at this level. Lee has a lot of memories here and will be a great transmitter of our deep volleyball tradition."
Nelson replaced former Gaucho player and assistant coach Aaron Mansfield, who left his coaching duties to pursue a professional career as a libero with the U.S. Men's National Team. Mansfield played at UCSB from 2001-05 and is the school's all-time leader in digs with exactly 1,000. He set single season dig records for three consecutive years. Mansfield coached under Preston for the 2006 and 2007 seasons.
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