The University’s new Head Coach of Men’s Volleyball, Aldis Berzins, brings with him the shine of Olympic gold, having medaled with the 1984 United States men's volleyball team.
"With the success that our men's volleyball program has enjoyed recently, it was important to us to select a coach that would keep the positive momentum going," says Director of Athletics Brett Adams. The Stevenson men's volleyball program reached the semifinals of the 2016 NCAA Division III Men's Volleyball Championship this past spring after capturing the program's first Continental Volleyball Conference (CVC) title. The Mustangs finished 26-8 overall.
Berzins competed for the United States as a member of the men's volleyball team at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. The United States defeated Brazil to earn gold, marking the first time the U.S. had won gold in the sport. He was the MVP of the men's national team in 1983. An All-American collegiately at Ohio State, Berzins was also an assistant coach on the 1996 United States women's volleyball Olympic team. From July 2001 until December 2015, he served as Senior Director of Sports Development and Coaching Education for Special Olympics International based in Washington, D.C.
“In Aldis Berzins, we have someone who has played, won, and coached at the highest level, and his experience and connections in the volleyball community will make him an asset to Stevenson University and our men's volleyball program,” Adams added. Berzins is excited about this new chapter in his life. “I look forward to building on the success that the program has already had, and to share my lifelong experiences in playing and coaching volleyball to continue to grow the program."
Did You Know?
Aldis Berzins isn’t Stevenson’s only coach to seen have the Olympic spotlight—he shares that honor with Laurel Martin, Head Coach of Field Hockey.
The 1996 Olympian and member of the United States Field Hockey Association Hall of Fame, Martin began her sixth season as the head field hockey coach at Stevenson in 2016. During Martin's tenure, the Mustangs have steadily improved to become one of the top teams in the region. In 2015 Stevenson reached the MAC Commonwealth championship game for the first time in program history and also advanced to the ECAC Mid-Atlantic championship game for the second straight season.
A 1991 graduate of the University of North Carolina, Martin was a three-time All-American and played on the 1989 national championship team. In 1990, she was named team captain before competing in the World University Games (Sheffield, England), the Pan-American Games (Havana, Cuba), and the Olympic Qualifying Tournament (Auckland, New Zealand) in 1991.
In 1994, Martin played for the U.S. National Team in the World Cup held in Dublin, Ireland. She returned to the Pan-American Games, this time in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1995. In 1996, she became a United States Olympian in the Atlanta games.
Of Stevenson’s 27 Division III athletic teams, 17 are Olympic sports, 16 of them for the summer games and two for the winter games. Here’s the breakdown:
- Basketball (men's and women's)
- Beach volleyball
- Field hockey
- Football (our soccer teams, men's and women's)
- Golf (men's and women's)
- Swimming (men's and women's)
- Tennis (men's and women's)
- Track and field (men's and women's outdoor)
- Volleyball (men's and women's)
- Ice hockey (men's and women's)