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Coach Change in the Midst of the Season

Randi Smart Resigns, Figueroa named interim volleyball coach

Juan+Figueroa+%28left%29+speaking+with+Beach+Volleyball+players+at+their+first+game
Juan Figueroa (left) speaking with Beach Volleyball players at their first game

Juan Figueroa (left) speaking with Beach Volleyball players at their first game

J. Aaron Delgado

J. Aaron Delgado

Juan Figueroa (left) speaking with Beach Volleyball players at their first game

Ricky Rodas, Managing Editor

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Volleyball season is underway at Cal State LA, and it looks like the team will be ‘served up’ some new leadership by Juan Figueroa, who joined the Cal State LA Athletics program in 2016 as assistant coach. Randi Smart, the current volleyball coach, announced her resignation last week, opting to take the associate head coach position at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

In an article posted by wakeforestsports.com, Bill Ferguson, Wake Forest volleyball head coach, spoke about his excitement in welcoming her to their sports organization. “Randi and I worked well together previously and she is an excellent fit for our coaching team and our student athletes… she has great energy in the gym and her training style fits well with our process.” Smart will be taking over for former assistant coach Lindsay Allman, who was named head coach at Indiana University.

In an article written by Cal State LA Athletics, Smart talked about how honored she was to coach at Cal State LA, saying, “The young women I’ve been able to work with have left such an impact on my life and my family’s lives. I am leaving there a better person and coach because of those amazing young women.”

Juan Figueroa will be expected to fill in some big shoes left vacant by Smart, as she completed her Cal State LA career with the second-most wins in program history, leading the Golden Eagles to winning years in each of her eight seasons as head coach. The Golden Eagles reached the NCAA Tournament twice during her tenure and reached the West Region title match in 2009. Figueroa is accomplished in his own right, having been a two-time former All-American at USC, a successful career in the Puerto Rican Indoor Volleyball League, and a gold medal with the Puerto Rican National Indoor Volleyball Team in the 2010 Central American Games.

“I’m very excited for this opportunity and excited for the future,” Figueroa said in an interview with Cal State LA Athletics. “We have several newcomers ready to make a great impact. We’re going to raise the bar and do what it takes to compete at a high level.”

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Coach Change in the Midst of the Season