A great teacher of the game, UCLA head coach Andy Banachowski has already achieved one of the highest honors possible. On October 24, 1997, in Holyoke, Massachusetts, Banachowski became the first women's volleyball coach to be inducted into the National Volleyball Hall of Fame as a coach.
Recognized as a master at teaching his student-athletes to reach their full potential, Banachowski not only is the owner of more victories than any other NCAA Division I women's coach, but is also mentor to numerous individual success stories. B
anachowski finished his 32nd season at the Bruins' helm last December with a career record of 845-200. On Sept. 7, 1996, he became the first women's coach to notch milestone victory number 800 with a 3-1 victory over the University of San Diego.
The driving force behind the continuous success of the women's volleyball program at UCLA, Banachowski has led the Bruins to top-four national finishes in 20 of the last 28 years and has compiled an amazing postseason record of 121-24 (.834) while winning six national titles and finishing as runner-up five times. Entering 1999, his Bruin teams have compiled 30 victories in seven of the last 11 seasons.
Banachowski's understanding and experience with college athletes create a positive environment for learning and succeeding in the high-demand life of a student-athlete. Individuals have enjoyed great success under Banachowski's tutelage as demonstrated by the fact that UCLA is among the leaders in All-America and NCAA All-Tournament Team selections. Since 1981, 17 Bruin athletes have earned 29 All-America certificates. In addition, 22 of Banachowski's players have earned Volleyball Monthly/Magazine All-America honors, nine claimed USVBA All-America status and 12 individuals were selected to the NCAA All-Tournament Team. Success continues after college as 20 former Bruins have trained with the U.S. National Team. The group includes four indoor and two beach Olympians, among them 1984 silver medalist Jeanne Beauprey Reeves who in 1996 served as an assistant coach for the 1996 U.S. Olympic Team in Atlanta.
The professional beach tours also are dominated by former UCLA players with 25 Bruins having competed in the sand on the two or four-player circuit.
A former advisor with the U.S. National Team, Banachowski attended the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta where he watched three former Bruins compete - Elaine Youngs indoors and Holly McPeak and Linda Hanley on the beach. His advisory capacity history includes the 1990 Goodwill Games, the 1992 Summer Olympic Games in Barcelona and the 1995 Pan-Am Games in Argentina as well as international competitions in Australia, Malaysia, Spain, Russia and Switzerland. In 1993, Banachowski served as the head coach of the U.S. World University Games team, a group that achieved the highest American finish in WUG history, earning a silver medal in Buffalo, N.Y. He also piloted the West team in the 1986 Olympic Festival.
Throughout the years, Banachowski has received a number of accolades, including five Coach of the Year honors from the Pac-10 (1988, '89, '93, '94, '98), and four from Volleyball Monthly /Magazine (including 1994). The American Volleyball Coaches Association has chosen him National Coach of the Year once (1989) and regionally in 1989, '92, '93 and '98. Banachowski was honored by the Volleyball Festival with its "Distinguished Service to USA Volleyball" award and was recognized as a founder of the AVCA (originally the CVCA). He has served on the NCAA and AIAW women's volleyball committees, authored the book "Power Volleyball" and has put together an instructional video "Play Volleyball."
The program has been a dominant force in women's volleyball since its inception in 1965. Banachowski has directed the program for all but two of those seasons (the 1968-69 and 1969-70 seasons which directly followed his graduation). UCLA won three national titles in the 1970s under the umbrella of the DGWS and AVCA. In the 1980s, the Bruins captured an NCAA title (in 1984) and appeared in a total of seven Final Fours with two second-place finishes. In the 1990s, Banachowski's teams have been equally impressive, winning back-to-back NCAA titles in 1990 and '91, finishing second in 1992 after an undefeated regular season, posting a 30-2 record in 1993, placing second in 1994 and reaching the regional final in 1995.
Success has always been synonymous with Banachowski, who was a four-year player and two-time All-American setter for Al Scates' Bruins, a career that included USVBA National Championships in 1965 and '67. After graduation, Banachowski served as Scates' chief assistant from 1972-77, a period in which the Bruins won four NCAA titles (1972, 74-76). Thus, as a player, men's assistant coach and women's head coach, Banachowski has been involved with 12 national titles.
The only other collegiate volleyball coach, men's or women's, with more career wins than Banachowski is UCLA's men's coach Al Scates who notched career victory number 900 during the 1997 season. Banachowski played under Scates at UCLA and also got his start in coaching with Scates. During the 1998 season, BYU's Elaine Michaelis became the third member of the 800-win group, earning the milestone in her 37th season as a head coach.
Originally from San Mateo, he now resides in Culver City with his wife, S.P. They have two children, Bret, who played volleyball at UC Santa Cruz, and Amy, who was a three-year letterwinner on the Bruin women's volleyball team.