Volleyball Australia is excited to announce the appointment of Mark Lebedew as coach of the men’s Volleyroos for the next two years.
Lebedew, who spent five years coaching in the AIS Volleyball Program from 1997 to 2002, and was the assistant coach of the Australian men’s team at the Sydney 2000 Olympics, has spent the past 15 years as coach and assistant coach in the toughest leagues in the world, including Poland, Germany and Italy.
His decision to return to Australia is a coup for Volleyball Australia, as Australia sets its sights on the 2018 World Championships, the 2017 Asian Championships and Tokyo 2020.
“I was attracted to the chance to lead my home country to the success I have always dreamed, and to give back to Australian volleyball which has provided me with so many opportunities in my life,” Lebedew said.
Lebedew has most recently coached top level Polish club, Jastrebski Wegiel, one of the premiere competitions in the world.
He will continue in his club coaching role, returning to Australia during the international season to take charge of the Volleyroos.
“The workload will definitely be challenging, but challenge is refreshing, especially if something is your passion,” he said.
“While on the surface there may be similarities, the working environments and groups are different. And as they say, a change is as good as a holiday!”
Lebedew was also previously in charge of top German team, SCC Berlin, and coached them to three German Championship titles, and a bronze medal in the European Champions League.
SCC Berlin has a long history with Australian athletes on its roster, including Opposite Paul Carroll and more recently, Libero Luke Perry.
Lebedew was also assistant coach of the German national team during 2013-14.
Volleyball Australia High Performance Director, John Boultbee, said the appointment of Lebedew underlines VA’s faith in the depth and experience of Australian coaches.
“We are thrilled that a world class Australian coach, who cut his teeth at the AIS, is taking over the reins of the Volleyroos. Mark Lebedew’s record stacks up well against all the best coaches in the world, so for him to agree to take on the helloworld Volleyroos is a tremendous fillip for our sport,” Boultbee said.
“His appointment follows on from the announcement former Australian player Victor Anfiloff will take over as head coach of Australian beach volleyball, and the appointment of several other Australians to important coaching positions with both our beach and indoor programs.
“We are proud that born and bred Australian coaches are reaching these heights, and using their international experience to our players’ benefit.
“We have set important goals for our men’s indoor team in the coming years, and to achieve those goals we need to make sure we have the best people in place to lead the program. Mark Lebedew certainly fits that bill.”
Volleyball Australia President, Craig Carracher, said Lebedew’s appointment should send a strong message to players, supporters and sponsors about the future direction of volleyball in Australia.
“The long list of over 40 applicants for the Volleyroos Head Coach role included some of the great names in international volleyball coaching, and we were humbled by the interest shown in our team,” Carracher said.
“Australia is not only producing some of the finest volleyball athletes in the world, but our coaching systems are fast becoming recognised globally and our new programs based at the Australian Institute of Sport will be world leading.”
Carracher said Lebedew’s decision to take on one of the most exciting jobs in world volleyball is an enormous vote of confidence in the Volleyball Australia program.
“The men’s and women’s Volleyroos teams will use the excellent facilities and high performance resources at the AIS as their training base, alongside the Volleyball Australia AIS Centres of Excellence for men and women, which are the full time elite development programs in indoor volleyball housed year-round at the AIS,” Carracher said.
Lebedew believes the foundations are in place for the Volleyroos to become a leading international team.
“Australia has had some moments of success in the recent past, with Olympic and World Championship qualification and World League wins,” he said.
“Working together I am convinced we can consolidate those successes and make Australia a constant presence on the highest world stage.”