The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference
The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference

Auburn hires Brent Crouch as volleyball coach

138 days ago
Auburn Athletics
Photo: Auburn Athletics

AUBURN, Ala.-- Brent Crouch, who has served as the head women's volleyball coach at the University of Southern California the past two years, has been named Auburn's head coach, Director of Athletics Allen Greene announced Tuesday.

"We are excited to welcome Brent, his wife Marcy and sons Jonathan and William into the Auburn family. Brent is a well-respected teacher, motivator and tactician which have guided him throughout his accomplished coaching career. Most importantly, we feel that Brent's leadership will further enhance the Auburn experience for our student athletes. We look forward to the development and growth of the Auburn volleyball program under Brent in the years to come."

In two seasons at USC, Crouch led the program to consecutive NCAA second round appearances, including a second-place finish in the Pac-12, and a No. 21 ranking in the season's final AVCA poll in his first season on campus in 2018. This past season, the Trojans were 18-14, while outside hitter Khalia Lanier became the fifth player in Pac-12 history to record 2,000 kills and 1,000 digs in career.

Under Crouch in 2018, the Trojans finished 22-11 overall with a 13-7 record in Pac-12 matches. USC played one of the toughest schedules in the nation and faced 18 ranked opponents in the regular season and were awarded the No. 11 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament. Setter Raquel Lázaro was named the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and outside hitter Brooke Botkin was chosen for second-team AVCA All-America honors. Lázaro and Lanier were each tabbed for All-America honorable mention.

Under Crouch's tutelage, outside hitter Emilia Weske was tabbed to the Pac-12's All-Freshman Team while middle blocker Jasmine Gross added All-Pac 12 honors.

"The first words Allen Greene spoke when I asked him what makes Auburn special were, with no hesitation, 'The Auburn Family. It's a real thing here,'" Crouch said. "Over the past several weeks of getting to know Auburn and the athletic department, I came to learn some of what he meant. This is an elite athletic program, and yet it is as warm, hospitable and passionate as any place I have been. From the beginning, Brant Ust and his wife Jessica, Joy Vrbka, and Allen and Christy Greene made my wife Marcy and I feel right at home. A heartfelt thanks to each of them. I can't wait to experience the full force of the Auburn Family at the next competition on campus."

Prior to arriving at Troy, Crouch was the 2016 West Coast Conference Coach of the Year. He inherited a winless Portland program and within two seasons guided the Pilots to their winningest season in 25 years. Crouch first took over at Portland in 2014 after the Pilots went 0-27 the previous season. After going 7-23 in his debut season, he guided the Pilots to a 16-15 mark in 2015 (its most victories since 1991) and then improved upon that in 2016 with a 17-13 mark. His 2017 team, which was hampered by injuries, was 15-15, with five losses coming in five-set matches. His overall four-year record at Portland was 55-66.

The 48 victories in his final three years was Portland's best three-season total since 1984-86. The Pilots' 10-8 third place WCC finish in 2016 was its most league wins since 1985 and highest conference finish since 1989. He led Portland to the program's first-ever victories over Top 10, Top 15, and Top 25 opponents. Crouch coached three All-WCC first team players and a WCC All-Freshman team pick, along with three WCC All-Academic first teamers. He also helped establish beach volleyball as a varsity sport at Portland in 2016.

"Volleyball in the SEC is on the rise, and it is only a matter of time before it leads the country," Crouch said. "I want to be at the forefront of that growth. Auburn volleyball is ready to take off, and I'm excited to partner with the department to ensure this happens. Once I knew I was aligned with the core values, mission and the specific vision of volleyball at Auburn outlined by Allen Greene, it was a simple decision to come on board. The Auburn family is going to see a volleyball program playing a fast, aggressive style of volleyball and to continue to develop young student athletes at the highest level on and off the court. I expect us to be earning a bid to the NCAA tournament very soon, and I know our athletes are up for that challenge. It's a great time to be an Auburn Tiger!"

Crouch arrived at Portland after four seasons (2010-13) at Saint Mary's College, where he was an assistant with the indoor program and head coach of the beach team.

During his time at SMC, the Gaels' indoor team went 73-40 overall, finished in the top three in the WCC standings each season by winning 73.4 percent of its league matches (47-17) and earned a berth into the NCAA Tournament in 2012, advancing to the second round. Besides being involved in the team's offense and defense, recruiting, scouting, practice planning, statistical and video analysis and scheduling, he provided academic support, as he mentored several WCC All-Academic honorees and helped the team to the athletic department's highest grade point average, an NCAA Public Recognition Award, and an AVCA academic award.

Crouch also coached the inaugural Saint Mary's beach team in 2013, guiding the Gaels to an 8-2 record, the best mark among all Northern California teams, as well as a No. 9 national ranking and a bid to the AVCA national championship for the program's top pairs team.

Crouch also has coaching experience with the USA Volleyball program, including working with U.S. Women's National Team head coach Karch Kiraly, being an assistant with the U.S. Collegiate National Team that captured a gold medal at the 2016 U22 Global Challenge and serving as both an indoor and beach coach in the USA Volleyball High Performance program.

Crouch played for Texas A&M's club team from 1993 to 1997. He earned his bachelor's degree in history in 1998 and his master's in philosophy in 2000, both from Texas A&M, then a doctorate in philosophy from Oregon in 2006.

He competed on the beach from 2005 to 2007 in AVP and CBVA events and placed second at the 2005 California Cup state championship.

He has held various teaching positions in philosophy at Oregon, San Diego City College, and Saint Mary's College since 2000.

Crouch and his wife Marcy have two sons, Jonathan and William.