Wenger Joins Spartan Volleyball Staff
UCLA graduate, CU Assistant returns to midwest
We're very excited to add JT to our staff," noted George. "His career not only as a coach in the Pac-12 on both men's and women's staffs, but also as an elite-level collegiate athlete provides him a very strong background that will be an asset to our athletes, our recruiting efforts and program as a whole. We're not only looking forward to JT joining us in a volleyball capacity, but also to welcome him, his wife Marissa and their children to our community."
Wenger replaces Mike Gawlik, who was named the head coach at Central Michigan University in late January after 11 years on George's Spartan staff.
"I am honored to join the Spartan volleyball program and I am excited for the opportunity to contribute to a program that excels academically, athletically, and in providing an exceptional experience for the student-athletes," said the new MSU assistant coach. "After being on campus, it is clear that the MSU administration is very supportive of the volleyball program and I am elated to be working with Cathy, as she is a fixture in elite collegiate volleyball. I think that there is an opportunity be a part of something special at MSU, and I am eager to get started."
Wenger spent the last four years on the staff at Colorado, and was elevated to the position of Associate Head Coach of the Buffs in March 2014. He helped guide the Colorado to a pair of NCAA second-round appearances in 2013 and 2014, and a 57-42 record over his final three seasons. CU also worked its way up in the Pac-12 ranks during his time on staff: the Buffs tied for 10th in 2012 (4-16), were tied for seventh in 2013 (9-11), fourth in 2014 (11-9), and most recently fifth in 2015 (11-9).
Wenger joined the CU program after six seasons with the UCLA men's volleyball team. Wenger served as an assistant under legendary men's coach Al Scates, who retired after his 50th season in 2012 as the winningest coach in Division I volleyball history, directing the Bruins to 19 NCAA Championships.
The AVCA twice recognized Wenger as a "30 Under 30" selection, 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. Between his time at CU and at UCLA, he coached nine AVCA All-Americans, (five first team selections) 22 all-conference picks, and 34 academic all-conference honorees.
Wenger has also worked extensively with USA Volleyball. In 2011 he was an assistant coach for the USA Men's World University Games in Shenzhen, China, and in the summer of 2009 helped coach the USA Men's Junior National Team at the World Championships in Pune, India. Wenger also coached with the USA High Performance program in 2007, 2008, 2010, and 2015.
Wenger had success as a high school and club coach before returning to a collegiate sideline. He guided the Marymount High School girls' team to the 2011 California DI State Championship game and the 2002 California DIII State Championship. Wenger also coached the Sunshine Volleyball Club 14's in 2003, '04 and '06.
Wenger was a standout collegiate player, a three-time varsity letterwinner (2001, `03 and `04) for Scates at UCLA; 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 co-captain in 2004, he played in 28 matches and recorded 216 kills, helping the Bruins to a 24-6 record. Wenger graduated with a BA in political science in May of 2004 and was a 10-time member of the Director's Honor Roll.
Wenger went on to play professionally after graduation for the Corozal Plantaneros in Corozal, Puerto Rico in June 2004, at which point he worked in the finance industry in Chicago before returning to coach at UCLA.
A native of Highland Park, Ill., Wenger was a two-sport athlete (soccer and volleyball) at Highland Park High School, and was named the Illinois Volleyball Player of the Year as a senior in 1999. He and his wife, Marissa, have a daughter, Vivienne, and a son, Reid.