Kevin Ring Unveils Staff for Inaugural Year of Big West Conference Men's Volleyball
LA JOLLA, Calif. - University of California San Diego men's volleyball head coach Kevin Ring has announced the addition of a pair of area products with considerable local connections as assistants in Jon Girten and Jake Penolio, for the program's very first go-around in the brand-new Big West Conference.
Girten and Penolio excelled in their playing days at Mt. Carmel High School and Mar Vista High School in Imperial Beach, respectively, and have been coaching in recent years at both the club and high school level in San Diego.
"I am excited to have both Jon Girten and Jake Penolio join the staff this year," remarked Ring, who heads into his 13th season at the helm. "Both Jon and Jake have strong ties in the volleyball community, having both played and coached here in San Diego. Their passion, energy and experience will be valuable to the team."
Girten coached at Mt. Carmel for 11 seasons from 2007-17, initially for seven years as the junior varsity and assistant varsity coach, aiding in three CIF titles from 2008-10. Over the past four seasons as the boy's varsity head coach, he directed his squad to three straight Palomar League crowns from 2015-17, and two CIF Division I championships in 2014 and 2016. The school's Coach of the Year in 2016, Girten has also coached within the Seaside Volleyball Club since 2011, mentoring over 20 athletes who have gone on to play collegiately.
Girten was a two-year varsity player as a middle blocker at Mt. Carmel before becoming a two-time All-Orange Empire Conference First Team selection at nearby Palomar College.
"I'm thrilled to be joining the UCSD men's volleyball program, and the Triton family," said Girten. "I look forward to the new challenges lying ahead with the move to the Big West, and can't wait to get to work with the players and staff to accomplish something great this season."
Penolio's coaching days began with both the men's and women's programs at his alma mater, National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) power Park University in Parkville, Mo. Upon his return home to San Diego, he has coached with Coast Volleyball Club since 2014, and directed the Del Norte High School boy's varsity team to the CIF Division I semifinals in his first season last May.
Penolio was a middle blocker at Mar Vista and then at Park, where he helped the Pirates to an NAIA national championship in 2009, before embarking on a professional career spanning Austria and Israel.
"I am incredibly excited and thankful to Coach Ring and the athletic department to be joining the Triton family with UCSD Men's Volleyball this season as we make our move into the Big West Conference," added Penolio.
Paul Warren, like Ring a UC San Diego alum, remains on the staff and will be in his 12th consecutive season on the Triton bench in 2018.
After 25 years in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF), UC San Diego will begin play in January as an associate member of the Big West, which unveiled in May of 2016 that men's volleyball had been added as a sponsored sport for 2018. Full Big West institutions CSUN, Hawai'i, Long Beach State, UC Irvine and UC Santa Barbara have likewise departed the MPSF to make up the six-team league, enabling the tournament champion to earn an automatic berth into the NCAA Championship.