After 11 years, it’s a new era for the University of New Mexico volleyball program.
Jon Newman-Gonchar was named the head coach of the Lobos, the UNM Athletics Department announced on Tuesday.
Newman-Gonchar most recently served as associate head coach at Arkansas for the last three years, but has a history in college volleyball that predates that tenure.
Prior to his years at Arkansas, he was an assistant coach at Iowa State for three seasons, as well as Loyola-Marymount, Louisiana-Lafayette and UC San Diego — where he had stints helping coach both the men’s and women’s programs.
Last season with the Razorbacks, Newman-Gonchar helped the team to a 19-11 record in 2017. And at Iowa State, in his three seasons there, he helped the Cyclones to a 56-31 record, which included defeats of five ranked teams and as high as a second place finish in Big 12 action.
“I am thrilled to be named head coach at the University of New Mexico. I am humbled to lead the Lobo volleyball team, represent this great state and this excellent institution,” Newman-Gonchar said in an official release by the Athletics Department.
Eddie Nuñez, Director of Athletics at UNM, recognized Newman-Gonchar’s experience, saying it is what made him a good fit for the program.
“I'm excited to welcome Jon and have him be our head volleyball coach,” Nuñez said in the release. “We wanted someone with a wide breadth of experience and someone that will bring excitement and championships to Lobo volleyball.”
Other than coaching at the college level, Newman-Gonchar has experience at other levels, including leading the 2018 Team USA Pan American Cup team to a gold medal in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic as the head coach.
His experience at the national level goes all the way back to 2007, including stints as an assistant and consultant coach.
Newman-Gonchar will be the 10th coach in UNM volleyball history.
Last season the Lobos finished 15-15 and 9-9 in the Mountain West behind longtime coach Jeff Nelson, who headed the program for 12 years. Nelson accumulated a 219-148 record in his tenure as head coach before being let go by Nuñez in December.
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Nelson’s contract was originally set to end on Jan. 31. It is unclear why Newman-Gonchar was announced for the position before Nelson’s time officially ended, but Frank Mercogliano of the Athletics Department informed the Daily Lobo that Newman-Gonchar will start the position on Feb. 1.
An investigation by the Daily Lobo published in December 2018 revealed that Nelson had been accused multiple times of bullying and emotionally abusing players on the team.
Nelson has denied all allegations.
Matthew Narvaiz is a senior writer and sports reporter for the Daily Lobo. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @matt_narvaiz.