|Alma Mater:||UCLA, 1968|
Andy Banachowski, the winningest Division I women’s volleyball coach in history, retired on June 30, 2010 following a 43-year career at the helm of the UCLA women’s volleyball program.
In his final season in 2009, Banachowski guided the Bruins to a 24-9 record. It was the program’s 11th-consecutive, 20-win season, as UCLA finished in a tie for second in the Pac-10. On Oct. 31, 2009, Banachowski won his 1,100th match in a five-set triumph at Stanford. His final career record was 1,106-301 (.786).
In 2006, Banachowski led the Bruins to their first Final Four appearance and 30-win season since 1994. UCLA won its first 20 matches of the year and breezed through the first four rounds of the NCAA Tournament with four straight, three-game sweeps. Following the 2006 season, Banachowski was honored as the Tachikara/AVCA Division I National Coach of the Year, the second time he had been named Coach of the Year, with the other coming in 1989. He also received Volleyball Magazine Coach of the Year honors for the fifth time and AVCA Pacific Region COY accolades for the fifth time (1989, ‘92, ‘93, ‘98). On five occasions, Banachowski was named Pacific-10 Conference Coach of the Year (1988, ‘89, ‘93, ‘94, ‘98).
Banachowski, the first women’s volleyball coach inducted into the National Volleyball Hall of Fame (1997), coached at least one All-American in each of his last six seasons. UCLA women’s volleyball earned 42 AVCA All-American honors, to go with 52 Under Armour/Volleyball Magazine All-American awards under Banachowski. He also coached players to numerous other awards, including 48 All-Pacific Region honors, 98 All-Conference awards, five Pac-10 Players of the Year and the National Player of the Year in 1992 (Natalie Williams). Eighteen Bruins earned All-NCAA Tournament accolades, including Williams, who was named Most Outstanding Player in both 1990 and 1991. Williams also won two Honda Awards under Banachowski’s tutelage in 1992 and ‘93, with Liz Masakayan earning the honor in 1985.
Banachowski and UCLA women’s volleyball were synonymous since the program’s inception in 1965. He directed the Bruins for all but two of those seasons, the 1968-69 and 1969-70 campaigns, which directly followed his graduation.
The Bruins won six national championships over Banachowski’s tenure, winning the program’s first title in 1972 while affiliated with the Division of Girls and Women’s Sports (DGWS). In 1974 and 1975, UCLA combined for a record of 60-4, winning back-to-back Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) championships. Since the NCAA began sponsoring women’s sports in 1981, the Bruins appeared in 11 Final Fours under Banachowski, winning championships in 1984, 1990 and 1991 and earning runner-up finishes in 1981, 1983, 1992 and 1994. Banachowski retired with more victories than any other coach in women’s collegiate volleyball history. On Nov. 12, 2005, Banachowski became the first Division I women’s coach to reach 1,000 career victories when the Bruins handed eventual national champion Washington its only loss of the season in a five-game thriller at Pauley Pavilion.
In February 2007, Banachowski was named head coach of USA Volleyball’s Junior National Team. That July, he guided Team USA to a fourth-place finish at the FIVB U-20 Junior World Championships, the best-ever finish for the United States in that tournament.
Banachowski was involved with the U.S. Olympic Team as a coach many times. He was a former advisor with the U.S. National Team, helping teams during the 1990 Goodwill Games, the 1992 Summer Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain, the 1995 Pan-American Games in Argentina and the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta. Additionally, he coached the West Team in the 1986 Olympic Festival. In 1993, Banachowski was the head coach of the U.S. World University Games squad, a group which achieved the highest American finish in WUG history, earning a silver medal in Buffalo. N.Y.
Banachowski coached 22 former Bruins who trained with the U.S. National Team following their UCLA careers. The group includes five indoor and eight beach Olympians. The beach team of former Bruins Annett (Buckner) Davis and Jenny (Johnson) Jordan, as well as former Bruin Holly McPeak, comprised three of the four members of the U.S. Beach Volleyball Team for the Sydney Olympics in 2000. Additionally, Elisabeth Bachman was a member of the 2004 U.S. Olympic Team (indoor) for the Athens Games. On the beach in ‘04, a team of former Bruins (McPeak and Elaine Youngs) won a bronze medal with Masakayan as their coach. Youngs (with partner Nicole Branagh) returned to the Beijing Games in 2008 with Masakayan as their coach.
Many Bruins have also been involved in the Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP) Tour on the beach, including Davis, Jordan, McPeak, Youngs, Ashley Bowles, Lauren Fendrick and Chrissie Zartman. From 1993-2000, former UCLA players competed in 83 straight professional tournament finals, winning 70 of those events. Bruin former players have won more FIVB International events than players from any other college.
On Oct. 24, 1997, Banachowski became the first women’s volleyball coach in history to be inducted into the National Volleyball Hall of Fame as a coach. He has since become the first volleyball inductee into the Serra High School and San Mateo County Halls of Fame and was inaugurated into the National Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame in June 2009.
In May 2000, Banachowski was presented with USA Volleyball’s highest honor, the All-Time Great Coach Award, and was simultaneously honored with the George L. Fisher “Leader in Volleyball” award, recognizing his off-court endeavors on behalf of volleyball.
The Volleyball Festival has recognized Banachowski with its “Distinguished Service to USA Volleyball” award, and he has also been recognized with the Founders Award for his role as a co-founder of the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA).
As a player, Banachowski was a two-time All-American under Scates, winning USVBA National Championships in 1965 and 1967. After his graduation, Banachowski pulled double-duty with the UCLA women’s and men’s volleyball programs, serving as Scates’ chief assistant from 1972-77, a period in which the Bruins won four NCAA titles (1972, ‘74, ‘75, ‘76). On three occasions (1972, ‘74 and ‘75), Banachowski won titles with both the men and women.