One of the most successful American high school coaches in Europe has taken a job with a college in the States.
Hans Hillestad, whose Aviano High girls volleyball teams won three European titles and once had a 105-match conference winning streak, is now the associate head coach at Mount Olive College, N.C. He’ll assist longtime coach Cole Tallman with both the men’s and women’s teams.
“It was a spur of the moment decision,” Hillestad said Wednesday in a telephone interview.
He said he had mixed feelings about leaving Aviano, where he had coached for the past 14 years — earning 12 conference titles and compiling more than 250 wins.
Pam Hillestad, who has been the team’s sponsor and co-coach during that span, will take over head coaching duties in Aviano. She’ll be staying in Aviano as the couple’s youngest son, Sam, enters his junior year. Their oldest son, Dylan, will be attending college this year in North Carolina.
Hillestad, 46, said he planned to take full advantage of his connections in Europe when it comes to recruiting. Alex Simon and Tiffany Hight, two Aviano graduates, will play for the women’s team this year.
He coached a number of sports at DODDS schools in Italy, the Azores, Turkey and Bahrain over the past two decades. He also coached base volleyball teams at Aviano several times.