UCLA Women’s Volleyball Hires San Diego’s Alfred Reft as Head Coach – Sports Illustrated

The Bruins have found their replacement for one of the longest-tenured coaches in Westwood.

UCLA women’s volleyball announced it had hired Alfred Reft as its next head coach on Monday, less than three weeks after Michael Sealy stepped down from the position following 13 years with the program. Reft has been the associate head coach at San Diego since 2020, guiding the Toreros to three consecutive NCAA tournament bids, a West Coast Conference championship and a Final Four appearance during his tenure there.

Reft is also a seasonal assistant coach for the United States Women’s National Team, where he works under UCLA Hall of Famer Karch Kiraly.

“I am honored and could not be more excited to lead such a historic and storied program like the one at UCLA,” Reft said in a statement. “The lineage of excellence is thick and runs deep, resting on the shoulders of our alumni who have laid a foundation of greatness for future generations to come. I am thrilled to continue to build teams and athletes that carry on this tradition of Bruin success.”

Reft started his collegiate career at UC Santa Barbara before transferring to Hawaii. In addition to earning two AVCA All-American nods with the Rainbow Warriors, Reft also won Asics/Volleyball Magazine Defensive Player of the Year in 2005.

The Oxnard, California, native turned pro after graduating in 2006, and he was a libero for Team USA from 2006 to 2010 and 2012 to 2015, winning the gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Reft may not have coaching experience in the Pac-12, but the Bruins are only playing one more season in that conference anyways before leaving for the Big Ten in 2024. Reft, fittingly, was an assistant at Minnesota from 2010 to 2012 and an assistant at Illinois from 2018 to 2019, making the Final Four with the Fighting Illini in 2018.

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Between those two Big Ten stints, Reft founded Peak Volleyball Academy and served as assistant director and head coach of Team Rockstar Volleyball Club. Reft has also coached Team USA on-and-off for the better part of the last decade.

San Diego had one of its best seasons in program history under Reft in 2022, making the national semifinals for the first time ever. Three Toreros earned All-American honors on his watch this season alone, and the team dominated the WCC postseason awards. His prowess as both a coach and a recruiter would have made him one of the hottest names on the coaching market regardless, but San Diego’s breakout campaign assured he would be in line for a top job this offseason.

Reft is the fifth head coach UCLA has hired since Martin Jarmond took over as the school’s athletic director in July 2020, all of whom have signed on in the past 12 months. UCLA hired Margueritte Aozasa as its women’s soccer coach in December 2021, Janelle McDonald as its gymnastics coach in May, Previn Chandraratna as its women’s rowing coach in June and Armen Kirakossian as its men’s golf coach two weeks after that.

“Alfee is one of the brightest young volleyball minds in the country and a proven winner,” Jarmond said in a statement. “After leading his prior team to a Final Four finish in the NCAA Tournament and having four seasons of Big Ten coaching experience, I am confident he will add to the storied legacy of our volleyball program. We are delighted to welcome him into our Bruin Family.”

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