BOULDER — University of Colorado head volleyball coach Liz Kritza has announced the promotion of JT Wenger from assistant to associate head coach, effective immediately.
“I have a responsibility to surround these players with the best possible people that I can find to help them grow and learn and achieve excellence, and promoting JT is a sign of that commitment,” Kritza said. “Together, we will continue to advance this program by supporting our players to continue achieving success in the classroom, on the court and in their lives.”
Wenger is starting his third season with the Buffs and has primary responsibility for opponent scouting, scheduling nonconference games, academic monitoring of high risk student-athletes and running summer camps. He will continue to assist Kritza in all facets of sport instruction and training, competition, recruiting, and program administration.
“JT’s contribution extends far beyond the practice court, scouting room and recruiting trail,” Kritza said. “He takes an active role in all strategic planning for the program and offers great insights as all decisions are being made in scheduling, recruiting and program operations. He approaches the challenge of taking on new responsibilities in an expanded role with great confidence and the inevitable results will be that he will be better coach and we will be a better program because of it.”
“I am very thankful and humbled by the support and trust that coach Kritza has displayed during my time at CU,” Wenger said. “Coach Kritza’s vision, leadership, and drive have been an inspiration to me. I am excited for the future of this program and look forward to helping the program elevate to new heights.”
Wenger has helped build the program and the Buffs have seen a great deal of success since his arrival in 2012. CU improved in his first season with the Buffs in 2012, recording 14 wins, eight more than in the previous season, as well as four Pac-12 Conference wins, as compared to one in 2011.
CU had a breakout season in 2013, finishing the year with an 18-14 record while tying for seventh in the Pac-12 with a 9-11 record. The 18 wins are the most in a single-season for the Buffs since 2003 when they recorded 21. CU also recorded its first win against a ranked opponent since 2008 and knocked off three top-25 teams during the season in No. 1 Washington, No. 11 UCLA and No. 25 Arizona.
Quite possibly the biggest highlight of the year was the return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2006. The Buffs advanced to the second round of the tournament after defeating Iowa State 3-1, before falling in a close match (3-2) to No. 10 Minnesota in Minneapolis.
“JT has been a valuable addition to this program from the day he joined us, and has proven to be even more capable in his two years here thus far,” Kritza said. “Our program has been steadily improving in our pursuit of excellence, and it is apparent beyond the win-loss column.
“He is a highly intelligent coach, a true professional and a genuinely interesting person. He is exceptional at what he does and we are excited that JT, his wife Marissa, and daughter Viv, are all Buffs and we look forward to sharing many future successes together.”
Wenger joined the CU program after six seasons with the UCLA men's volleyball team. While coaching at UCLA, he served as an assistant under legendary men's coach Al Scates, who retired after his 50th season in 2012. Scates is the winningest coach in Division I volleyball history and directed the Bruins to 19 NCAA Championships.
The AVCA recognized Wenger twice as one of its 30 Under 30 coaching list, honoring him in 2009 and again in 2010. This award was created in 2009 to honor thirty of the up-and-coming volleyball coaches under 30 years old in the sport at all levels of the game.
Wenger also worked with USA Volleyball. In 2011, he was an assistant coach for the USA Men's World University Games. During the summer of 2009, he helped to coach the USA Men's Junior National Team at the World Championships. Wenger also coached with the USA High Performance program in 2007, 2008 and 2010.
Prior to coaching, Wenger was a successful volleyball player at UCLA, earning three letters (2001, 2003 and 2004). In each of those three seasons UCLA made the MPSF Tournament. The Bruins were the NCAA runner-up in 2001, made regionals in 2002 and were regional semifinalists in 2004. As a senior in 2004, he played in 28 matches and recorded 216 kills, helping the Bruins to a 24-6 record. Wenger graduated with a degree in political science in May of 2004 and was a 10-time member of the Director's Honor Roll.
“I continue to be grateful for the opportunity to work for the University of Colorado and head coach Liz Kritza,” Wenger added. “Additionally, her friendship and care for my family has made my time at Colorado truly special.”