Gophers volleyball coach Hebert retires

  • Article by: NEWS SERVICES
  • Updated: December 12, 2010 - 1:08 AM

Mike Hebert lifted the program to national prominence, including three Final Fours, during his 15 seasons in charge.

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Mike Hebert, right, guided the Gophers to three Final Fours.

Photo: Marlin Levison, Star Tribune

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SEATTLE — Gophers volleyball coach Mike Hebert announced his retirement at a team meeting Saturday night, ending his tenure after 15 successful seasons in the Twin Cities.

"Coaching volleyball has been a labor of love for me," Hebert said in a statement released by the university. "Not once over the past 35 years have I started a day wishing I were doing something else. However, all of us coach with the realization that one day it has to end. That day has come for me.

"I want to devote more of my time to my wife Sherry, my daughters Becky and Hillary, and my grandsons Mateo and Farris. I owe them a level of attention that the long hours required by the coaching profession often preclude."

Hebert has coached the Gophers to a 381-125 record and three Final Fours, including last year's national semifinals. The Gophers' 2010 season ended in the regional semifinals Friday night with a 3-0 loss to California in Seattle. The Gophers went 26-9 this season, finishing in a tie for second in the Big Ten.

In addition to the three Final Fours, Hebert guided the Gophers to 14 NCAA tournaments and eight NCAA regionals. Their lone appearance in the national championship match ended with a loss to Stanford in 2004. The Gophers also won their first Big Ten title in 2002.

He is fourth on the all-time Division I victories list with 892, and is the only coach to ever lead two programs from the same conference to the Final Four, having led Illinois there in 1987 and 1988.

The University of Minnesota will begin a national search for Hebert's replacement.

"Mike has been everything you could ask for in a coach and more," athletic director Joel Maturi said in the statement. "He has guided this program to an extremely high level of success on and off the court, and has done a spectacular job of recruiting and producing student-athletes of the highest caliber. In his 15 years at Minnesota, he has turned this program into one of the elite in the nation."

Hebert, 66, just completed his 28th year coaching in the Big Ten, making him the longest tenured coach in the conference. He retires with an all-time record of 952-392.

"As the retirement decision began to crystallize over the past several months, I also knew that I wanted to leave the program in good condition," Hebert said. "As I look at next season's roster, I believe that the timing is right to accomplish that goal."

Four years ago, Hebert revealed he had Parkinson's disease, an illness he discovered he had in January 2004.

"The doctors do say that with most people, Parkinson's progresses by decades rather than years," he said in 2006. "So, I plan to keep at this for a while."

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