Catanach Joins Exclusive 700 Win Club

On Saturday, Sept. 16, Tampa volleyball coach Chris Catanach reached another historic milestone with a win over Eckerd College. Catanach joined the group of 14 coaches in NCAA volleyball history to win 700 matches. He became just the fourth coach in Division II to reach 700 victories.

Catanach has been around the game of volleyball for a long time. After working one year as an admissions representative at UT, Catanach took over as head coach of the volleyball team in 1984.

“I was a student assistant coach for one year, but I begged Bob Birrenkott for the job. That’s how I got started as the head coach,” said Catanach.

Catanach took over a program that was just five years old, but he has transformed the University of Tampa into one of the top Division II volleyball programs in the country.

Catanach’s .831 winning percentage ranks first among active NCAA Division II coaches. After finishing 38-5 in 1991, Catanach was named National Coach of the Year. In 1993, he was inducted into the Sunshine State Conference Hall of Fame. Nine years later he was named a member of the UT Hall of Fame.

After a 30-26 Tampa win in the first game, there was never a doubt about the outcome of the match. The combination of solid play from the Spartans and some unforced errors from Eckerd led to a 30-19 win for Tampa in the second game. The third game was similar to the second game as the Spartans went on to win by the same score of 30-19, taking the match three games to zero.

386 fans turned out to see Catanach make history, many of them being University of Tampa fans, despite the fact that the game was played at Eckerd College in Saint Petersburg. As the game neared the end, Spartan fans held up signs and posters that had congratulatory messages for Catanach.

Although it was an historic night, Catanach seemed very even keeled throughout the match and after the game. “Honestly, I was not thinking about the 700 win. I thought it was great that the sports department made a lot of hype before the game, but I really just wanted to get a conference win over Eckerd. I appreciate all the recognition I received, but I wasn’t really that excited. Maybe if I win 1,000 games it will be a little different,” said Catanach.

Catanach’s coaching credentials and accomplishments have enabled him to land some of the top volleyball prospects in the country. “Coach Catanach was definitely one of the reasons I decided to come to Tampa,” said Danielle McDonald, a sophomore transfer from Florida State. “He has a passion for the game, and his intensity really rubs off on the whole team. He is very competitive and I think it really helps the team focus and want to work even harder.”

“Coach is great. He has really taught us a lot,” said freshman Alisha Green. “He has been able to keep us at a level where we never get too high or low. I think that has been really important for our team.”

Catanach seems to be enjoying his time at Tampa. “I really like coaching here. I would like to continue coaching until they kick me out.”

Leave a Reply

Back To Top