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Southern Miss Hires Volleyball Coach

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

beach tour.

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.

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