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Davis, and the volleyball program, grew stronger.

Last year’s team advanced to the national semifinals. This year’s team went all the way. “I knew we were good,” Davis says. “I knew we had

a shot. My moment this year of grasping it was the first weekend when we played UC-Irvine, BYU, and USC. We lost to USC, but I knew if we kept improv- ing, we’d be tough to beat. It was all part of the plan, from 2011 when [senior associate athletics director] Carolyn O’Connell put the bid in to host the tourna- ment. All I had to do was get the right guys.” The Ramblers played a great season, and on May

1, the tournament kicked off in Gentile Arena. “Being there in the Final Four—it was one of the best mo- ments of my life,” Davis says. “It was a wild week.” Assistant Coach Mark Hulse was named Assistant

Coach of the Year. Davis was named Coach of the Year. The Ramblers beat Penn State in the semifinals, and went on to drop Stanford for the championship. Two days later, Davis’s wife Andrea gave birth to their second daughter. “I tried to name her Natty Champ,” Davis jokes. It

didn’t fly. The couple, who met playing volleyball at North Avenue Beach, named their daughter Jordyn, joining her older sister, Sydney. For Davis, there’s no complicated formula for suc-

cess. “Win,” he says. “And not just on the court. Be the best in the classroom or at whatever you’re doing that moment. Do volunteer work and community service.” Naturally, success is a team effort. Davis is quick

to praise his players, assistant coaches, and staff, in whom he places the same confidence that allowed him to thrive in his role as head coach. “From day one, I’ve been afforded a tremendous

amount of responsibility and freedom in doing my job despite not having the longest coaching résumé,” says Assistant Coach Mark Hulse. “That’s putting a lot of stock and trust in potential, but I imagine someone felt the same way about Shane when he was offered the head coaching position 12 years ago. Sometimes the best way to learn is just to dive in headfirst.” And, of course, there are the fans. “We couldn’t

get it all done without the support of our fans and administration,” Davis says. “We appreciate it.” On the heels of victory, Davis is gratified and excit-

ed for the next season. “Every once in a while a great team comes along. You win a national champion- ship,” Davis says. “It takes a while to get back to that, but we’ve reloaded. I don’t see us taking steps back. We’re trying to build a sustainable powerhouse.”


As head coach, Shane Davis led the Ramblers to victory at the NCAA championship—a first for the program.


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