March 16, 2012
RUSTON - Louisiana Tech has announced the hiring of longtime Division I assistant coach Adriano de Souza as the ninth head coach in Lady Techster volleyball history. De Souza's hiring is pending the approval of the Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System.
"We are pleased to have Adriano join the Tech family," said Tech Athletics Director Bruce Van De Velde. "His background in coaching and teaching will provide the leadership our volleyball program and student athletes need in order to achieve their academic and athletic goals."
De Souza, who is a native of Sao Paulo, Brazil, replaces Matt Sonnichsen, who resigned following the 2011 season after four years at the helm of the program. The 40-year-old brings a wealth of both collegiate and international coaching experience to Ruston as well as recruiting ties in both the United States and overseas.
"Adriano is a true student of the game, and I believe our women will not only improve under his leadership, but will also enjoy playing for him," said Deputy Athletics Director Mary Kay Hungate. "He has demonstrated that he has the ability to help teams reach their competitive goals, and we are confident he will do the same here."
De Souza's coaching resume spans two continents and 17 years and boasts stints at the club, high school and collegiate levels, including assistant coaching positions at Illinois State, Miami (OH) and Kent State.
"I would like to thank Bruce Van De Velde and Mary Kay Hungate for the opportunity to be the next head volleyball coach at Louisiana Tech," de Souza said. "I want to thank the student-athletes, faculty and staff who I met during my visit and who were so helpful in helping me understand the vision of the athletic department. Louisiana Tech has a great support system that will help in the development of this volleyball program."
Prior to his time in Normal, Illinois, de Souza served on the staff at Miami (OH) for three seasons (2005 through 2007) where he was instrumental in helping the RedHawks reach the 2007 NCAA Tournament after capturing the Mid-American Conference Tournament title. Two of Miami's wins that season came against nationally-ranked Ohio, the four-time defending conference champion. The only team to sweep the Bobcats in 2007 was national runner-up Stanford.
In his first season (2005), the RedHawks recorded the most wins (17) since the 1998 Mid-American Conference championship team went 27-8. In 2006, Miami finished fourth in the MAC regular-season race, the RedHawks' best finish since 2000.
He was a volunteer assistant at Kent State in both the 2003 and 2004 seasons, while completing his master's degree in sports pedagogy. He also volunteered as an assistant coach with the boys' volleyball team at Stow (Ohio) High School in 2004, and as the head coach of the Club Q Sport 17's team in 2004-05. Prior to his stint in Ohio, his coaching career in the U.S. started with two years as the head women's volleyball coach at Union College (Ky.) while he took postgraduate courses. He led the Bulldogs to a second-place finish in the Mid-South Conference and the program's first NAIA regional appearance in his final season (2000).
"My goal for Louisiana Tech is to develop a program where the student-athletes can be successful both academically and athletically," de Souza said. "Our focus will be to work on this day in and day out and continue to move in the right direction. I am looking forward to the next several weeks of practice where the student-athletes and I will be on the volleyball court training and developing our game."
De Souza is originally from Brazil, a country with a great volleyball history and tradition, and he began playing the sport at the age of 14. He spent three years (2001-03) as the volleyball coach and co-administrator for two men's teams in the city of Rio Claro, Brazil. His under-21 men's team was the regional runner-up all three years, while his under-19 men's team was the APV League Champion in 2001, and posted a runner-up finish in 2002. In 1999, de Souza mentored the under-21, under-19 and under-16 women's programs at Club Regatas in Campinas, Brazil, before coming to the U.S.
He also served a three-year stint as the head men's volleyball coach at the State University of Campinas (1995-97), where his team won sectional championships in 1996 and 1997, finished second at the Metropolitan Championships in 1995 and 1996, and placed third in 1997.
Since 2001 Adriano has worked with Antonio Rizola, the head coach of the Brazilian Junior National Team, in developing methods to improve players' game intelligence in preparation for South American and World Championships. In 2007 he volunteered for the Brazilian Youth National Team when it competed at the World Championship in Mexico under Rizola.
He has also been a liaison and interpreter for the United States Women's National Team (1994) and Japanese National Junior Team (1993) in their respective visits to world championship competitions in Brazil.
De Souza has co-authored numerous books and articles on sports and coaching, He graduated with his bachelor's degree from Universidade Estadual de Campinas in Sao Paulo, Brazil in December 1997, and completed his master's degree at Kent State in May 2006.