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Shannon Wells names Kris Grunwald to UVA volleyball staff

Courtesy UVA Media Relations

Kris Grunwald has been named an assistant volleyball coach, as announced by UVA volleyball head coach Shannon Wells. Grunwald, who boasts 29 years of college coaching experience, comes to UVA most recently from Cornell where he was an assistant coach.

“The very first phone call I made when I got the job was to Kris Grunwald,” Wells said. “He was my top recruit and I’m excited that he is ready to join me on this journey to build Virginia into an elite volleyball program. I’ve known Kris for over 15 years when we first started working together at Morehead State. Our coaching journeys have taken us different places, but the friendship and mutual respect has only grown stronger. He has an incredible amount of experience that I am going to rely on as I transition to the head coaching chair. His credentials of a high-level trainer, motivator and relationship-builder speak for themselves. There isn’t a person in the volleyball world that doesn’t know Kris. Most importantly, he is a quality human that goes about life and coaching the right way. Our athletes are going to absolutely love training with him and will flourish under his mentorship.”

Grunwald, who has enjoyed head coaching stints at UConn (2014-18) and Auburn (1998-1999), spent one year at Cornell and never had the opportunity to coach a season due to the Ivy League not playing sports during the 2020-21 academic year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Grunwald spent the 2019 season as an assistant coach at Auburn in what was his third stint with the Tigers. Grunwald initially joined the Auburn staff as an assistant, coaching in that role from 1994-97 before being elevated to head coach of the program for the 1998 and 1999 seasons. He also returned to Auburn as an assistant coach for the 2002 and 2003 campaigns.

The Tigers had a winning record in all eight years with Grunwald on staff. As a head coach, he amassed a 41-20 record, which included a 22-win campaign in 1998. Grunwald was also a part of the 1996 squad that finished 22-9 overall and 11-4 in SEC play, winning the SEC Western Division title.

Between his second and third coaching stints at Auburn, Grunwald served as the head coach at UConn from 2014-19. He finished his time at Connecticut with a 70-86 overall record, including back-to-back seasons with 16 wins in 2015 and 2016 and a 10-win conference record in 2015.

Grunwald also spent four seasons as an assistant coach at Arkansas where he excelled on the recruiting trail, helping the Razorbacks’ secure a top-45 recruiting class in 2009. His ability to help turn programs around was also on display at Arkansas, as he helped transform the Razorbacks from a 7-23 team in 2008 to an 18-12 team by 2011.

Grunwald helped Morehead State experience a similar turnaround during his time as an assistant and associate head coach, helping the team go from a 6-26 record in 2005 to 22-12 and OVC Co-Champions in 2007.

Grunwald started his coaching career out at Florida State as an assistant coach from 1991-93 before his first stint at Auburn started in 1994. Overall, he spent 15 seasons in the Southeastern Conference, including three years at Ole Miss (2002-04). He also served as the compliance services coordinator at Michigan from 2000-02.

A native of Germantown, N.Y., Grunwald played collegiate volleyball at George Mason University where he was a starter on the 1988 squad that made the Final Four. During his time as a Patriot student-athlete, Grunwald was a three-time honorable mention Asics All-American and four-time first team All-EIVA selection.

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