Southern Miss Hires Volleyball Coach
HATTIESBURG, Miss. The University of Southern Mississippi Director of
Athletics Richard Giannini announced the hiring of Santiago Restrepo
(pronounced Reh-STRAY-po) as the new volleyball coach.
Restrepo, who comes to Southern Miss after serving as an assistant coach at
Saint Louis University, replaces Steve Sykes who resigned at the end of the
2000 volleyball season to pursue outside interests. Restrepo becomes the
seventh head coach in Lady Eagles' 22-year history.
"Santiago Restrepo is just another fine example of the coaches we are able to
attract to Southern Miss," Giannini said. "I know he will be an asset both on
and off the court."
"I am pleased with Santiago's decision to come here," states Sonja Varnell,
the associate athletics director of Olympic sports/senior woman administrator
who oversaw the search process. "I think he can do some great things with
our program. He is a proven recruiter, and I am very excited to have him as a
member of the Southern Miss athletic family."
Restrepo just completed his third season as assistant coach at Saint Louis
University under Marilyn Nolen. Restrepo brought a tough training regimen to
the Billiken program in 1998, and his dedication and work sparked an
immediate improvement. Saint Louis posted its fourth-best single-season
winning percentage in school history at 21-7 (.750). Last season, he helped
the Bills to 23 victories, the most since 1996.
During the summer of 1998, Restrepo had the opportunity to serve as a coach
with the USA Youth National Team in Colorado Springs, Colo., and was
asked to return again in 1999 and 2000.
"I am very excited for the opportunity and thank Richard Gianinni and Sonja
Varnell for the priviledge to come to Southern Miss," comments Restrepo who
is a native of Bogota, Columbia. "I look foward to the challenge of working
with the Lady Eagles. There will be a lot of work, but I'm not afraid of hard work
and willing to do what it will take to move the volleyball program to new
Restrepo served as the women's head coach at East Stroudsburg (Pa.)
University from 1995-97. He led the Warriors to a 21-11 record and a
semifinal finish in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) in his
first season in the league.
East Stroudsburg posted its best record in school history with a 32-2 slate in
1996. For his team's efforts, Restrepo was named PSAC Coach of the Year.
During his tenure, he led ESU to a 75-32 overall record.
A former NCAA Division I All-American at East Stroudsburg, Restrepo was
also a four-time All-Conference selection. He earned Team Most Valuable
Player honors all four years and was the co-winner of the Senior Athlete
Award in 1986. Following his collegiate career, Restrepo played one season
professionally in France. After his playing stint in France, Restrepo returned
to the United States, where he played on the American Volleyball Players pro
He earned an AAA player rating on the AVP tour and had the opportunity to
play against some of the giants of professional beach volleyball, including
Karch Kiraly, Sinjin Smith, Randy Stoklos and Kent Steffes.