Debating with your friends who’s the best Volleyball coach?
Bernardo Rezende, Hugh McCutcheon or Julio Velasco?
Here is our list of the best Volleyball coaches of all time.
Do you agree with our picks?
Best Volleyball Coaches:
- Bernardo Rezende
- Hugh McCutcheon
- Julio Velasco
- Karch Kiraly
- Eugenio George Lafita
- Nikolay Karpol
- Lang Ping
- Giovanni Guidetti
Table of Contents
#1 Bernardo Rezende
- 🏆 Achievements: Multiple Olympic Games medals, World Championships, and World Cup victories
- 📅 Years Active: 1988–Present
- 👕 Teams Coached: Brazilian Men’s and Women’s National Teams, Rexona-Ades, RJX
- 🌐 Nationality: Brazilian
Bernardo “Bernardinho” Rezende is a monumental figure in the world of volleyball, having led the Brazilian national volleyball teams to numerous victories. His tenure as the head coach of the men’s team saw Brazil clinch gold at the Olympic Games in Athens 2004 and Rio 2016, as well as multiple World Championships.
His success with the Brazilian women’s team is equally impressive, as he helped them to claim gold at the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games. Bernardinho’s coaching philosophy is centered on meticulous planning, strategic innovation, and instilling a tireless work ethic.
Often celebrated for his ability to develop talent, Bernardinho has made an indelible mark on volleyball, imprinting his vision of the game through his leadership and passion for excellence.
#2 Hugh McCutcheon
- 🏆 Achievements: Olympic gold with the USA Men’s team, Olympic silver with the USA Women’s team
- 📅 Years Active: 2001–Present
- 👕 Teams Coached: USA Men’s and Women’s National Teams, University of Minnesota
- 🌐 Nationality: New Zealander
Hugh McCutcheon has earned international acclaim for leading both the USA men’s and women’s volleyball teams to Olympic podium finishes, a unique achievement that speaks to his versatility and coaching acumen. The men’s team won gold under his guidance at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, while the women’s team secured silver at the London Olympics in 2012.
His philosophy emphasizes defensive solidity coupled with a fluent attacking rhythm, showcasing his teams’ well-rounded skill sets. His ability to adapt strategies mid-game is also a hallmark of his coaching style.
Currently, McCutcheon is fostering the next generation of volleyball talent as the head coach of the University of Minnesota’s women’s volleyball team, where he continues to cultivate a culture of excellence and innovation.
#3 Julio Velasco
- 🏆 Achievements: 2 FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championships, 1 FIVB Volleyball World Cup
- 📅 Years Active: 1981–2019
- 👕 Teams Coached: Italy Men’s National Team, Iran Men’s National Team, Argentina Men’s National Team, plus various club teams
- 🌐 Nationality: Argentinian
Julio Velasco is a legendary volleyball strategist whose innovative approach revolutionized the Italian men’s national team during the 1990s. Under his leadership, Italy achieved unprecedented success, winning the FIVB Men’s World Championship twice and securing a World Cup victory.
Velasco’s keen insight into the game and ability to foster strong team cohesion translated into a period of dominance for Italian volleyball. His methodology focused on the rigorous technical and tactical preparation of his players.
After his tenure with Italy, Velasco also imparted his significant knowledge on the national teams of Iran and Argentina, influencing the international volleyball scene with his distinctive coaching philosophy.
#4 Karch Kiraly
- 🏆 Achievements: FIVB World Championship, multiple FIVB World Grand Prix winnings
- 📅 Years Active: Coaching since 2009
- 👕 Teams Coached: USA Women’s National Team
- 🌐 Nationality: American
Karch Kiraly, often lauded as one of the greatest volleyball players of all time, has transitioned seamlessly into a successful coaching career. Leading the USA women’s national team, Kiraly has helped them capture a FIVB World Championship title and several FIVB World Grand Prix titles.
His coaching style translates his own playing experiences and promotes the same intensity and competitive spirit that characterized his playing career. Kiraly focuses on the fundamentals of the game while also nurturing the mental toughness of his athletes.
Beyond his technical expertise, Kiraly’s presence as a leader and mentor has been pivotal in elevating the standards of the women’s national team and inspiring a new generation of volleyball players to achieve greatness.
#5 Eugenio George Lafita
- 🏆 Achievements: 3 Olympic gold medals, multiple FIVB World Championships
- 📅 Years Active: x
- 👕 Teams Coached: Cuba Women’s National Team
- 🌐 Nationality: Cuban
Eugenio George Lafita is celebrated as one of the most successful coaches in women’s volleyball history, having guided the Cuban national team to three consecutive Olympic gold medals in 1992, 1996, and 2000. His tenure with the team also included numerous FIVB World Championship titles, underscoring his exceptional coaching record.
Widely respected for his tactical knowledge, George Lafita’s coaching philosophy was centered around powerful and aggressive volleyball. He was a master at identifying and developing raw talent within his squads.
His legacy is not only reflected in the trophies and accolades but also in the enduring respect he commanded from players and peers alike. George Lafita’s impact on Cuban volleyball and the sport at large is still revered today.
#6 Nikolay Karpol
- 🏆 Achievements: Multiple Olympic medals, numerous FIVB World Championships, European Championships
- 📅 Years Active: 1969–Present
- 👕 Teams Coached: USSR, Russia Women’s National Teams; Uralochka-NTMK Ekaterinburg
- 🌐 Nationality: Russian
Nikolay Karpol is known as the “Iron Hammer” for his stern coaching style and longevity in the sport. Having coached the USSR and later the Russian women’s national teams, his career has been decorated with a multitude of honors, including Olympic silver and bronze medals as well as World Championship victories.
Karpol’s leadership was instrumental in the long-term success of the Soviet and Russian teams, which became known for their tactical discipline and relentless competitiveness. His demanding approach pushed players to their limits but resulted in an era of dominance.
Even beyond his work with national teams, Karpol’s club coaching career, primarily with Uralochka-NTMK Ekaterinburg, has seen sustained success, solidifying his status as a coaching titan in the volleyball world.
#7 Lang Ping
- 🏆 Achievements: Olympic gold medal as a player and coach, FIVB World Cup victories
- 📅 Years Active: 1995–Present
- 👕 Teams Coached: Chinese Women’s National Team, USA Women’s National Team
- 🌐 Nationality: Chinese
Lang Ping, also known as “The Iron Hammer,” has achieved the unique distinction of winning Olympic gold both as a player and as a coach. She guided the Chinese women’s national team to gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics and has also secured FIVB World Cup triumphs.
Her coaching career has had significant stints including the leadership of the USA Women’s National Team, which she took to a silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Lang’s philosophy is founded on technical precision, strategic ingenuity, and a deep understanding of her players’ strengths and weaknesses.
Her influence extends beyond tactics; she is credited with fostering a positive team culture and resilience among her players. Lang Ping remains a major figure in the sport, widely respected for her contributions and continued success.
#8 Giovanni Guidetti
- 🏆 Achievements: European Championship titles, FIVB World Grand Prix titles
- 📅 Years Active: 1998–Present
- 👕 Teams Coached: Netherlands Women’s National Team, VakıfBank Istanbul, Germany Women’s National Team
- 🌐 Nationality: Italian
Giovanni Guidetti has made a name for himself with his transformative impact on the teams he has led, including the Netherlands and Germany women’s national teams. His coaching career has been highlighted with European Championship titles and FIVB World Grand Prix titles, showcasing his ability to lead teams to victory on the international stage.
At the club level, Guidetti’s tenure with VakıfBank Istanbul has been marked by success, including victories in the CEV Champions League and numerous Turkish championships. His coaching style blends motivational leadership with innovative tactical approaches.
Guidetti’s capacity to build cohesive, high-performing teams and his commitment to fostering a competitive yet supportive environment have established him as one of the most influential coaches in women’s volleyball.
Who is the greatest volleyball coach of all time?
Bernardo Rezende, known as Bernardinho from Brazil, is often considered the greatest volleyball coach, leading teams to Olympic and World Championship victories.
Who was the most successful volleyball coach?
Bernardinho is the most successful volleyball coach, with over 30 major titles, including Olympic golds and World Championships with Brazil’s national teams.