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Rutgers dismisses Volleyball coach C.J. Werneke, announces national search

The program has struggled mightily since joining the Big Ten

Rich Graessle/Rutgers Athletics

Rutgers announced the dismissal of volleyball head coach C.J. Werneke on Tuesday morning after 12 seasons on the job. The program has struggled considerably on the court since joining the Big Ten, producing a record of just 3-117 over six seasons. They did actually win twice in conference action this season, breaking a four year drought, but lost its last 8 matches without winning a single set. Overall, Rutgers went 8-23 this season, its most wins since 2012, the last time the program produced a winning campaign.

From the Rutgers press release:

“We would like to thank CJ for his time and service at Rutgers and his dedication to our student-athletes, including navigating the program through conference realignment to join the nation’s best volleyball conference,” said Director of Athletics Pat Hobbs. “After evaluating the program, I felt a change in leadership was appropriate at this time.” ­­­

In fairness to Werneke, his program has nowhere near the level of facilities or financial budget that his competition has throughout the Big Ten. Rutgers still plays its matches in the College Avenue Gym, which is extremely old and also used by the public across the Rutgers community.

Hobbs begins yet another national search for a program in need of a rebuild. Since coming to Rutgers in late 2015, Hobbs has made changes and hired coaches in football (twice), men’s basketball, rowing, softball, baseball, men’s soccer, rowing, track & field/cross country, gymnastics, and swimming & diving.

The Big Ten is by far the strongest league for volleyball in the country and based on his track record, it seems reasonable to think Hobbs is likely to target assistant coaches that are considered ready for the next step from other programs within the conference.