Head Varsity Coach: PAT CONNOLLY
Pat Connolly begins his sixth season as the Head Boys’ Volleyball Coach at Mater Dei High School. The 2018 season proved a remarkable year for the Boys’ Volleyball team as they compiled a 22-5 overall record en route to a third consecutive undefeated and fourth consecutive Trinity League title. The 2017 campaign was one of the best in Mater Boys’ Volleyball history as the Varsity earned a 29-4 overall record logging a second undefeated Trinity League Championship, Bellarmine Invitational Tournament Championship, an AVCA High School All-American, and a number one national ranking by MaxPreps.com. In 2016, the Varsity recorded a 23-10 overall record on their way to an undefeated Trinity League Championship. This was the first Boys Volleyball team in Trinity League history to go undefeated since the league’s inception in 2007. The 2015 season marked a breakout year for the Monarchs as an underclassman laden Varsity team compiled a 22-9 record winning the Tustin Fighting Farmer Classic and a share of the Trinity League title. Since Connolly’s first season in 2014, nine Mater Dei Boys’ Volleyball student athletes have continued playing volleyball at the collegiate level. In 2017, Coach Connolly was awarded by the Orange County Athletic Directors Association as a “Coach of Character.” In addition to his duties as Head Coach, Connolly serves as a United States History Teacher in the MDHS Social Studies Department.
Pat Connolly has been coaching volleyball since 2005 at the prep, club, and collegiate level. His first coaching stint was at University High School as an Assistant Girl's and Boy's Volleyball Coach. While at University, the Girl's team captured their first CIF Championship in program history in 2005. From 2006-2008 Connolly coached at the Surf City Boys Volleyball Club for the 17's Silver and Gold teams. In 2009, Pat Connolly was the Boy's Junior Varsity Coach at Westminster High School and guided the Lions to a Golden West League title. From 2010-2013, Connolly was the Head Assistant Coach for the Women's Volleyball team at Santa Ana College. During his tenure at SAC, Connolly helped send three student athletes to four year schools and continue their playing careers while two-thirds of the Women's Volleyball program was recognized as scholar athletes. In 2013, Connolly coached the Boys’ Volleyball Team at El Modena High School where two members from that team moved on to play at the collegiate level.
As a student athlete, Pat Connolly graduated from Esperanza High School where he played volleyball for four years. While at Esperanza, Connolly was a First Team All Sunset League selection and Team MVP playing the positions of Opposite, Middle Blocker, and Outside Hitter. Following his time at Esperanza, Connolly was Captain and an All-Pacific Coast Conference Opposite, Outside Hitter, and Middle Blocker at Golden West College under Steve Uchytil, Rick McLaughlin, and Mike D'Alessandro. After his time with the Rustlers, Connolly received an athletic and academic scholarship to Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne (IPFW). Connolly played one season for the Mastodons as a Middle Blocker until he suffered a career ending knee injury.
While at Golden West College and IPFW, Connolly was a scholar athlete and consistent Deans List recipient maintaining a 3.8 GPA. Connolly graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in History Magna Cum Laude from California State University, Fullerton in 2011 and received his Single Subject Teaching Credential in Social Studies from CSU Fullerton in 2012.
Coach Connolly enjoys traveling, reading, watching sports, and spending time with his wife Katie and family.
Varsity Assistant Coach: JAKE NUNEVILLER
Coach Jake Nuneviller enters his second season with the Mater Dei Boys Volleyball Program. A native of Arizona, Jake was born into a family that was all about volleyball. His mother coached D1 volleyball at the University of Arkansas, his father played professional beach volleyball, and his little sister was a high school All-American, currently playing at the University of Oregon. Coach Jake was a first team all-state setter at Corona Del Sol High and then went on to Golden West College to win a state championship.
Coach Jake Nuneviller has seven years of coaching experience and has been playing for 13 years. At The HBC, his teams both won a silver and a Bronze medal at the USAV Junior National Championships in the 18s division. He has had several players go on to play D1 volleyball some of whom were recently selected to the NCAA All-American team. Returning to Arizona, he coached at Aspire VBC and won another silver medal at the boys Junior Nationals Championships in the 17s division. He also coached Arizona’s Desert Vista High School where his team finished 5th in the state.
Coach Jake Nuneviller is looking forward to another great year at Mater Dei.
Tucker Pikula begins his first year as a Varsity Assistant at Mater Dei. Tucker is an alumnus of Mater Dei and was a four-year varsity starter. As a standout player at Mater Dei, he won a CIF Championship in 2011, several All-League Awards, a few MVP's, and one 2nd Team All-CIF award. He also played for the Balboa Bay Volleyball Club for his 16's, 17's, and 18's years. Tucker led his 16's team to a gold medal at the Junior Olympics where he also won the MVP award. His 17's and 18's team both got silver medals and was awarded all-tournament team for his 17's year.
Tucker graduated from Mater Dei in 2013 and pursued his career and got a scholarship to play for the University of California, Irvine. He was a major contributor to their success and started for them on and off for three seasons. Tucker quickly became a fan favorite for being an explosive 6'0 outside hitter. While attending UC Irvine, he studied Anthropology and Psychology.
JV Coach: MICHAEL NGUYEN
Michael Nguyen has acquired a broad range of volleyball experience as a player, certified official, and coach. Coach Nguyen graduated from Loara High School where he played four years of volleyball. While at Loara, Nguyen played as an outside hitter where he earned the recognition as All-Empire League Player and overall Varsity Team MVP during his Junior and Senior years. After graduating, Nguyen attended Golden West College where he was an All-Pacific Conference Libero. After Golden West, he pursued an Associate degree in Fire Science and became a Vet Technician for several years.
Michael Nguyen has been coaching since 2005. He has experience at the prep, club, and collegiate level. His coaching began at University High assisting the Boys Volleyball team. After University High, Coach Nguyen also coached at Westminster High, Villa Park High, Marina High, Santa Ana College, and Golden West College.
Of all the schools that Coach Nguyen has been with, he has succeeded in winning multiple league titles. Since 2011, Nguyen has been coaching at the Ohana Athletic Club for the Boy's and Girl's Teams and is also the Club Director. Coach Nguyen coaches ages 14-18 at Ohana and has loved coaching there these past years. Coach Nguyen has been coaching at Mater Dei for the boys’ volleyball team since 2014 and continues to help build this program and has won numerous Trinity League titles. Michael Nguyen’s favorite hobby outside of volleyball is hiking.
Head Frosh/Soph and Boys' Beach Volleyball
Coach: DAN McCLEARY
Coach Dan is beginning his fifth year under Head Coach Pat Connolly at Mater Dei as the Head Boys Beach and Frosh/Soph Red volleyball coach. Dan has played volleyball in high school, college, and at national levels for many years. After college Coach Dan played for the Athletes-In-Action volleyball program for two years. Dan is still playing in the Senior Division of the USAV Adult National Championships.
Dan began his coaching career at Esperanza High School before spending four years as a Volunteer Assistant Coach at The University of LaVerne Men's Program which included three DIII Championship Finalist appearances and a DIII National Championship. Coach Dan has also spent time at The Webb Schools, Seal Beach Volleyball Club, and Texas Tech University Summer Camps.
Dan has three sons all former competitive water polo players. Coach lives with his wife of 39 years Nancy in San Clemente and they are both outdoor enthusiasts including the beach and mountains.
Freshman Coach: SHELBY GRIFFITH
Shelby Griffith begins her first season at Mater Dei. Coach Griffith graduated from El Modena High School where she was a Varsity captain and team MVP all four years. In her Junior year, Shelby was selected first-team All-League and by her senior year second-team All-CIF. Collegiately, Shelby played at Irvine Valley College where she was named an All-Conference Libero. While playing for the Lasers, she was 2nd in the conference for digs per set for the overall season. Coach Griffith graduated with an AA Degree and is currently completing coursework toward a nursing degree.
Shelby has been coaching volleyball for four years. Coach Griffith began her career as an assistant coach at Aspire Volleyball Club. Currently, she assists the top 16’s club team in the nation and is the head coach for the 14-2’s at the HBC volleyball club. Last season her boys team finished in the top 10 at Junior Nationals. Coach Griffith also served as the Junior Varsity Coach and Assistant Varsity Coach at Yorba Linda High School winning a league championship. Currently, Shelby serves as the Junior Varsity and Assistant Varsity Coach at Marina High School for the women’s program. Coach Griffith is excited to help build the Mater Dei program with her love and knowledge of the game and continue to develop players.