Jason Donnelly, who made a name for himself coaching a local high school to 14 Condor League championships and successful CIF campaigns, is returning to Santa Barbara to take the helm of the Bishop Diego High School boys’ volleyball program.
Having spent the past three seasons as the first assistant women’s volleyball coach at Rutgers University, Donnelly said he is looking forward to getting back to his roots. A former CIF Division 4A Co-Coach of the Year and the 2006-07 Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table Coach of the Year, Donnelly brings a wealth of experience to the Bishop Diego squad, which competes in the highly competitive Tri-Valley league.
“Santa Barbara is a volleyball town, and there is no reason that Bishop shouldn’t have a very successful program,” Donnelly said. “Bishop Diego has always produced top-level student-athletes, and I’m really looking forward to being a part of the Cardinal family.”
Donnelly played volleyball at San Marcos High School and then at the University of the Pacific in Stockton from 1993 to 1996. After many successful years at Laguna Blanca, he returned to his native New Jersey to take the first assistant’s position at Rutgers.
He said he enjoyed coaching at the next level, but the desire for a milder “winter season” was the driving force for returning to California. In addition to coaching at Bishop Diego, Donnelly will be coaching club volleyball in Santa Barbara.
Bishop Diego Athletic Director Dan Peeters said he is pleased to have found such an experienced coach to replace Joe Reiken, who stepped away from coaching to become Bishop’s assistant head of school this year.
“Jason’s record speaks for itself,” Peeters said. “We’re looking forward to him bringing his expertise to Bishop.”
Bishop Diego’s varsity squad returns eight players from last year’s team.
The school is an independent, co-ed, Catholic high school that welcomes students of all faiths.
— Ashley Snider, class of 1982, is the director of admissions and public relations at Bishop Diego High School.