Volleyball coach David McFatrich left his position at UCA on Jan. 12, becoming the Mississippi State University Bulldogs volleyball coach.
Athletic director Brad Teague said he is proud of where McFa t r i c h brought the Sugar Bears v o l l e y b a l l p r o g r a m during his tenure.
“We are very happy for coach [McFatrich] and his staff,” he said. “They did a tremendous job here and further established UCA as a power volleyball program.”
McFatrich started coaching at UCA as an assistant in 2007 under Steven McRoberts.
McFatrich was promoted to head coach in 2011 after McRoberts left to coach the University of Tulsa Golden Hurricanes.
McRoberts left Tulsa and was hired by the University of Mississippi Rebels last January.
In his eight seasons with UCA, McFatrich helped coach the Sugar Bears to four regular season Southland Conference championships, two SLC Tournament championships and four SLC East Division titles.
Under McFatrich’s head coaching tenure, UCA’s record was 96-36 (.727), and the team made the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history in 2012 after McFatrich captured his first conference championship as head coach.
McFatrich’s 59 total victories between the 2012-2013 seasons were second behind volleyball powerhouse Penn State University.
The Sugar Bears posted a 56-12 record in the SLC for the last four years.
UCA made the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year in 2013 and was the first SLC team to earn consecutive conference titles in 23 years.
The Sugar Bears lost both NCAA tournament openers, the first against the University of Washington in 2012 and the second against Purdue University in 2013 in straight sets.
UCA boasted a 38-match winning streak against SLC opponents, and junior outside hitter Heather Schnars earned the team’s first ever American Coaches Volleyball Association All-American honor.
Under McFatrich, the Sugar Bears saw 15 players earn all-SLC honors, including nine first-team honors and six SLC individual awards.
Prior to McFatrich’s arrival to UCA in 2007, the Sugar Bears’ Rating Percentage Index was in the 240s. In the last eight years, UCA has climbed as high as 44th nationally and was ranked as high as 17th in the Volleyblog Seattle Poll.
One of McFatrich’s more recognized accomplishments while leading the team between the 2011-2013 seasons was a perfect Academic Progress Rate score of 1,000.
During that time, the Sugar Bears had a number of players reach the SLC All-Academic team, including former outside hitter Jessica Hays, the 2012 Student- Athlete Player of the Year, an award which recognizes the top student-athlete both on and off the court.
Joining McFatrich in Starkville, Mississippi are his assistants, John and Brittany Newberry, who were with him at UCA.
Sophomore hitter Evie Singleton said she was surprised by the move.
“Honestly, I was blindsided,” she said. “Coach [McFatrich] and I go way back. He was the one who taught me how to play volleyball, the one who helped me fall in love with the sport. Hearing that he was leaving was very hard. I still can’t quite wrap my mind around the fact that he’s not here anymore.”
Singlton said the honors didn’t make McFatrich a great coach.
“It wasn’t even all about the accolades, it was about what he instilled in us – no fear on the court and always playing with everthing we have in us,” she said.
The Board of Trustees agreed on a three-year extension for $51,000 on Jan. 1, 2014.
In his contract, it said if McFatrich were to leave after one season, he would owe the university $15,000.
Jeni Jones was hired Jan. 16 to take over for McFatrich.
Jones spent the previous 13 seasons at Missouri State University.
She helped lead MSU to seven NCAA tournaments and 20 or more victories in 12 of 13 seasons.
As the Missouri State coach, she compiled a 291-132 (.630) record.
During those 13 seasons, MSU had a 184-60 (.754) record in the Missouri Valley Conference.
Jones will be introduced Thursday afternoon in the Skyboxes on the fifth floor of Bear Hall.