Two months ago Ron Larson resigned as the head women’s volleyball coach and left the athletic department searching for a new one. Well that search is finally over. A few days ago UC Riverside’s Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Brian Wickstrom held a conference and announced the hiring of Michelle Patton as Larsen’s replacement.
When coach Larsen was with UCR from 2009-2012, he posted a 23-98 overall record and a 9-57 conference record. We can certainly say he did not get it done during his tenure here at Riverside.
We can also say that the resignation of coach Ron Larsen was not much of a surprise.
Yet, looking at his past it seemed like he had potential. Larsen was the assistant coach on the gold medal-winning 2008 US Olympic men’s volleyball team, a coach that has won four Coach of the Year honors and coached 51 all-conference performers. However, he was unable to use his experiences and propel Riverside into contenders for the Big West Title.
This season, Riverside played very competitive in most of their games, as a lot of them went to five sets, but just could never find a way to pull out the victories. Yeah they had their bad games, but this team showed they can compete.
Maybe it was time for a change.
Patton brings much experience to Riverside and she can propel Riverside to the top. She earned a bronze medal in the USA Junior Olympics in 1993. She turned San Francisco State, a team that went 20-126 in five years, into playoff contenders.
In 2009-10 Patton led San Francisco to their first back-back- winning seasons since 1996-97. The five seasons that she was there she got to the NCAA Division II tournament twice and last season she went 21-9 overall.
I believe this a good move for the Highlanders. She will have 12 of the 19 players returning next year and have the opportunity to develop chemistry with her players. As her track record shows, she can turn this team around and make this program a threat in the Big West Conference.