Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Associate head coach John Wasielewski begins his 16th season on the Duke volleyball staff and his 12th in his current position after being promoted from assistant coach in January 2003.
Wasielewski joined the Duke staff in 1999, just one month after Jolene Nagel was named head coach, and has been instrumental in bringing the Duke volleyball program to its current level of success. His impact on the program’s recruiting, training and scouting has been tremendous, helping the Blue Devils advance to the NCAA Tournament 11 times while capturing five ACC Championships.
Wasielewski has been a part of four ACC Coach of the Year staffs and four East Region Coach of the Year staffs. During his tenure, the Blue Devils have established themselves as one of the elite programs on the East Coast and an annual favorite for the ACC Championship. With a resume that includes 12 20-win seasons, 11 NCAA Tournament trips and 16 All-Americans, Wasielewski has emerged as one of the top assistant coaches in the nation.
Since joining the program 15 years ago, Wasielewski has helped the Blue Devils compile a 332-143 (.699) overall record and a 199-83 (.706) mark in ACC play. With Wasielewski’s help, the Blue Devils have claimed five ACC Championships since 2000 while finishing among the top three in the conference standings in 11 of the past 13 seasons.
In just his third year at the helm alongside Nagel, Wasielewski coached the Blue Devils to the 2001 ACC Regular Season Championship. That season sparked an 11-year run that saw the Blue Devils qualify for the NCAA Tournament nine times while winning the ACC in 2006, 2008 and 2010.
In 2010, the Blue Devils ventured deeper into the NCAA Tournament than any other Duke team in program history, becoming the third ACC team to reach the NCAA Regional Final. Five Blue Devils – including ACC Player of the Year and AVCA All-American Kellie Catanach – were named both All-ACC and All-East Region.
In 2013, Duke made its ACC-leading 18th NCAA Tournament appearance as the Blue Devils earned the No. 16 national seed and hosted the opening rounds of the tournament for the fifth time in program history. The Blue Devils clinched the ACC title and the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament with a thrilling five-set victory over rival North Carolina in the regular season finale.
Wasielewski has overseen the development of Duke’s last four ACC Players of the Year in outside hitter Emily Sklar (2013), setter Kellie Catanach (2010), middle blocker Carrie DeMange (2007) and setter Ali Hausfeld (2006). Catanach started every match of her career at Duke while leading Duke to two ACC Championships and four straight NCAA Tournament appearances. DeMange and Hausfeld, meanwhile, were the key components to one of the most successful spans in Duke volleyball history. From 2004-07, DeMange and Hausfeld led Duke to four straight 20-win seasons, three NCAA Tournament appearances, the 2006 ACC Championship and a school-record 38-match winning streak at home in Cameron Indoor Stadium. DeMange left as the ACC’s all-time kills leader, and Hausfeld set Duke’s all-time assists record and ranks second in ACC history in that category.
Wasielewski’s impact is also noticeable on the recruiting trail where he helped bring in 16 All-Americans and 20 players who went on to collect All-ACC honors. Additionally, Coach Wasielewski recruited the 2006 ACC and East Region Freshman of the Year in 2009 graduate Rachael Moss and 15 ACC All-Freshman Team members.
An active member of the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA), Wasielewski was a voter for the AVCA’s Top-25 Coaches Poll from 1994-1998. Before coming to Duke, Wasielewski served as head coach at St. Bonaventure University from 1992-98. Wasielewski was instrumental in building the Bonnies’ volleyball program into one of the Atlantic 10’s more competitive squads. During his tenure at St. Bonaventure, Wasielewski implemented a weightlifting and conditioning program for his squad. He also developed a mentor program and a freshman study group, promoting academic development. Wasielewski also served as club director and clinician for the Cobra Volleyball Club.
Prior to taking over the top spot at St. Bonaventure, Wasielewski spent two seasons as an assistant coach overseeing the offseason workouts of the players and helping with the recruitment of student-athletes. During his stint as a Bonnies’ assistant, Wasielewski earned his master’s degree in education in 1992.
Wasielewski began his coaching career at his alma mater, Penn State, as a student-assistant coach for the women’s program during the 1989 season, helping the Nittany Lions to a 34-7 record and the Big Ten Championship.
A 1990 Penn State graduate with a degree in economics, Wasielewski was a four-year member of the Nittany Lion program, helping Penn State to two NCAA Final Four appearances in 1987 and 1989. As a junior and senior, he served as a team captain and still holds the Penn State record with nine service aces in a match, which he accomplished in 1990.
Wasielewski also competed in both the 1986 and 1987 U.S. Olympic Festivals, earning a bronze medal in both appearances.
Wasielewski and his wife Jennifer reside in Hillsborough, N.C., with their son Jack and daughter Jenna.