Photo by FIVB

Coach Tom Black has decided to step down as Canada’s women’s national volleyball team head coach.

Scheduling conflicts with his job as head coach of the University of Georgia Bulldogs and family considerations were key factors.

“This is a sad day for me. When I considered our young family as well as the changes in the NCAA schedule due to the pandemic, I realized it would be impossible for me to lead the two programs in the manner they deserve and require,” explained Black. “I am so proud of what we were able to accomplish and how we went about it. There were many relationships formed I will always treasure. Canada will have a strong team heading into VNL and I will always look to support the program however I can.”

Under Black’s guidance, the women’s team qualified for FIVB Volleyball Nations League (VNL) for the first time after winning the qualifying tournament in 2019.

“I would like to thank Volleyball Canada leadership including Mark Eckert, Julien Boucher, Kerry MacDonald, our incredible women’s national team staff and most importantly our players for an experience I’ll never be able to put into words. I would also like to thank Greg McGarity, Stephanie Ransom and Rhonda Kilpatrick for their support at UGA in allowing this opportunity to occur.”

The Bulldogs coach since December 2016 and former assistant coach for the United States national team, Black took over the Canadian program in May 2019.

Black was previously the head coach of the Loyola Marymount University women’s volleyball team. He was also an assistant with the 2016 Olympic United States women’s bronze-medal winning team. Before being named as an assistant with the United States program, Black spent three consecutive summers as a consultant coach as the national team prepared for the 2012 London Games. He held various other positions with collegiate and school programs earlier in his coaching career with both men’s and women’s teams.

Canada’s women’s team, which is based in Richmond, B.C., missed qualifying for the 2020 Olympics. VNL is set to resume in 2021, with the women scheduled to host in Ottawa.

“Volleyball Canada thanks Tom for his contribution to the program and we wish him the best with future endeavors,” said Julien Boucher, high performance director for Volleyball Canada’s indoor programs.

“We are currently finalizing our plan to ensure that the women’s program has continued strong leadership in 2021 and beyond looking ahead to Olympic qualification for 2024. Tom helped lay the foundation and we are grateful for his strong leadership in the time he spent at the helm of the women’s team.”