University of Tampa head volleyball coach Chris Catanach is in his 36th season in charge of the Spartan program, leading the team to one of the elite programs in the country with 26 Sunshine State Conference titles, 33 NCAA appearances, 18 trips to the NCAA Elite Eight, four national runner-up finishes and the NCAA Division II national championship on three occasions. Catanach led the Spartans to the 2006, 2014, and 2018 national titles.
Sporting a 35-year career record of 1,073-200, he averages 30.1 victories per season while ranking among the all-time leaders in both victories and winning percentage. Nationally, Catanach's .843 career winning percentage ranks third among the winningest active NCAA Division II coaches while his 1,073 total victories rank fourth among active NCAA coaches in all divisions.
The 2018 team was one for the record books. After starting the season unranked, the Spartans battled their way to a 33-4 record, ending the season No. 1 in the nation and with the title, National Champions. Due to his outstanding coaching, Catanach was named the 2018 AVCA Division II National Coach in the Year for the fourth time in his career, in addition to winning the AVCA Region Coach of the Year for the 17th time, and earning the 2018 Sunshine State Conference Co-Coach of the Year honor earlier in the season. Now with 19 SSC Coach of the Year honors to his name, Catanach is tied for most all-time across all league-sponsored sports. Catanach coached two Spartans to AVCA All-America Honors, Katie McKiel who earned First-Team, and Sorrel Houghton who achieved a spot on the Second-Team. His 2018 Spartans were SSC Co-Champions, NCAA South Regional Champions, and most importantly NCAA Division II National Champions.
His 2017 squad finished the season 18-14 overall, 13-7 in the Sunshine State Conference. For the 22nd year in a row, Catanach guided his team to the NCAA South Regional, where they ended their campaign in the first round of competition.
Entering the 2016 season, the Spartans defeated the Franklin Pierce Ravens, earning Catanach his 1000th Career win. As the Spartans continued their season, Catanach once again led the Spartans to the NCAA South Region Tournament where they lost in the second round to Florida Southern. The team finished with an overall record of 23-9, 12-4 in the Sunshine State Conference. Allee Stelogeannis was named SSC player of the year.
During the 2015 season saw the program's 25th Sunshine State Conference Championship and 30th trip to the postseason. The Spartans concluded the season 27-6 with a 15-1 record in SSC action, finishing the year in the South Region tournament. UT totaled three AVCA All-America honorees and the CoSIDA Volleyball Academic All-America of the Year in senior Berkley Whaley.
The 2014 season had a perfect ending with the Spartans sweeping Southwest Minnesota State to win the program's second national championship. The team would finish with a 34-1 record while posting its third consecutive undefeated Sunshine State Conference slate. Berkley Whaley was honored as the National Player of the Year as a total of five Spartans were named All-Americans. Catanach was also presented National Coach of the Year Honors alongside Whaley.
His 2013 squad capped off a perfect Sunshine State Conference season while being ranked in the top-three of the national rankings all season, including two weeks at the No. 1 spot. He coached a total of five All-Americans, including Berkley Whaley, who was honored as the SSC and South Region Player of the Year.
Catanach led his Spartans to the national championship match in 2012, marking the fifth title appearance for the program. He also coached Danielle Selkridge to a program first, as she was honored as UT's first-ever National Player of the Year by both the AVCA and Daktronics. For the second straight year, Selkridge led the nation in hitting percentage. In 2011, he guided his squad to its 16th consecutive NCAA Tournament while capturing its sixth straight Sunshine State Conference title. His team advanced to the national semifinal match. Under Catanach, the Spartans have now advanced to four consecutive Elite Eight's.
The 2010 South Region Coach of the Year has earned the honors 14 times while coaching a record 49 All-Americans with at least one selection in 17 straight seasons.
First-team All-American Danielle Selkridge led the nation in hitting percentage in 2011 with a .498 clip, and repeated the feat in 2012. Selkridge also captured Sunshine State Conference and Daktronics South Region Player of the Year honors as both a junior and senior. She capped off her career as the Sunshine State Conference Female Athlete of the Year, which was awarded to the top athlete for all SSC sports.
In 2009, Melissa Vanderhall also became the third player in SSC history to win consecutive SSC Player of the Year honors as she also repeated as the Daktronics South Region Player of the Year. Both were firsts in the University of Tampa record book.
In 2008, he led his squad to the NCAA tournament as it won the SSC championship for the fourth consecutive season. Camila Saade and Melissa Vanderhall also captured ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District Honors as Vanderhall was also the SSC and South Region Player of the Year while being an All-American. His efforts garnered him 2008 SSC and South Region Coach of the Year accolades.
He led his team to the 2007 NCAA South Regional title and advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight for the third straight year. He also coached four individuals to All-American honors as Erin Clark captured SSC Player of the Year Honors.
In 2006, he made history while guiding his Spartan squad to a 35-1 season and capturing the program’s first NCAA II national championship with a 3-1 victory over North Alabama in the title game. He was also named National Coach of the Year as four of his players were named All-American.
In 1991, Catanach became the first and volleyball coach in the Sunshine State Conference to earn National Coach of the Year honors. In 1993, he was inducted into the Sunshine State Conference Hall of Fame while also being a member of the UT Hall of Fame Class of 2002. He has been named the SSC Coach-of-the-Year 12 times in his 24 year career, most by any coach in league history. Catanach has also been named the South Region Coach of the Year 10 times.
Catanach took over a program that was just five years old in 1984 and posted a 32-4 record in his first year as a coach. Two years later, his squad earned a school record 41 victories. While signing some of the area’s and state's top players, his recruiting philosophy is "to go where the players are" which has led him from California to the Caribbean.
Academic success is given as much consideration as athletic prowess and Catanach can lay claim that over 95 percent of his recruited athletes complete their degree requirements at UT while 11 have earned CoSIDA Academic All-America honors. In addition to earning All-America honors, Dawn Rawlins (1995-99) was twice honored as the SSC Scholar Athlete-of-the- Year and four-year All-America Danielle Faggion (1996-2000) was the 1999-2000 SSC Female Athlete-of-the-Year.
Catanach is a member of the NCAA II Volleyball Committee and is a voter for the AVCA top 25. In addition to his coaching duties, Catanach held the position of interim athletic director in 1989 and served as an assistant athletic director from 1998-2004 with NCAA compliance related duties.
A native of the U.S. Virgin Islands, Catanach was the recipient of the University's award for the outstanding physical education graduate. Prior to becoming head coach, he worked for one year as an admissions representative for UT.
Chris is married to Linda, who played basketball and volleyball at UT from 1979-83. In 1988, she became the second woman to be inducted into the UT Athletic Hall of Fame. The couple has two daughters, Kellie and Tina.
Chris Catanach Milestone Wins
1 – South Florida (3-1), 9/17/1984
100 – St. Thomas (3-0), 11/1/1986
200 – Florida Atlantic (3-0), 10/20/1989
300 – North Florida (3-0), 10/22/1992
400 – Florida Tech (3-0), 9/28/1996
500 – Mars Hill (3-0), 10/9/1999
600 – Florida Southern (3-0), 11/23/2002
700 – Eckerd (3-0), 9/16/2006
800 – Lynn (3-0), 10/23/2009
900 – Eckerd (3-2), 11/14/2012
1,000 - Franklin Pierce (3-0), 9/2/2016
Chris Catanach's Collegiate Coaching Career
|1984||Tampa||32-4||NCAA South Region|
|1985||Tampa||41-7||NCAA South Region|
|1987||Tampa||37-4||NCAA South Region|
|1989||Tampa||28-13||NCAA South Region|
|1990||Tampa||33-11||NCAA South Region|
|1991||Tampa||38-5||NCAA South Region|
|1992||Tampa||27-9||NCAA South Region|
|1994||Tampa||29-9||NCAA South Region|
|1997||Tampa||31-2||NCAA South Region|
|2001||Tampa||27-4||NCAA South Region|
|2004||Tampa||24-6||NCAA South Region|
|2006||Tampa||35-1||NCAA National Champions|
|2008||Tampa||27-5||NCAA South Region|
|2014||Tampa||34-1||NCAA National Champions|
|2015||Tampa||27-6||NCAA South Region|
|2016||Tampa||23-9||NCAA South Region|
|2017||Tampa||18-14||NCAA South Region|
|2018||Tampa||33-4||NCAA National Champions|
33 NCAA Appearances