Coach Wanderer began coaching at West Hills in the fall of1998. His arrival in that year marked a new beginning in Falcon Volleyball. Becoming the Falcons' sixth coach since 1972, Wanderer set forth in re-establishing a program that had been dropped the previous year. Wanderer has brought to the volleyball program, a vision of success along with a first-class experience. Coach Wanderer's philosophy includes recruiting talented players who enjoy the game and have the potential to play at the next level, and providing those players with an experience that will properly prepare them to play at the next level.
HIGH SCHOOL EXPERIENCE
Wanderer began his career in volleyball at San Jose State University. After playing on the Men's team at San Jose State, Wanderer began coaching at Independence High School in San Jose. Inheriting a junior varsity squad with a 1-9 record the previous year, Wanderer guided his team to an 8-2 record in his coaching debut. Wanderer was promoted to Head Varsity Coach the following season and went on to one league co-championship and two second-place finishes.
In 1993, Wanderer returned to San Jose State as a volunteer coach for the struggling women's team. After one season, Wanderer was promoted to assistant coach where he helped the team reach the finals of the National Invitational Volleyball Championship Tournament (volleyball's version of the NIT) and two 20+ win seasons.
Wanderer then took an assistant position at Fresno State. While serving as an assistant Fresno State went on to record the most wins (24) and the fewest loses (9) in a season. Fresno State went on to enjoy three 20+ win seasons while Wanderer was there. After being involved with almost every facet of the program, Wanderer then set his sights on building a team of his own. That team would be West Hills College Coalinga.
While helping college programs become more successful, Wanderer has devoted his outside time growing and developing the game. While still living in San Jose and coaching at Independence High School, Wanderer became the 18's coach (and later, the Executive Director) for South Valley Volleyball Club. Leaving South Valley, Wanderer began coaching the 18's team with Team O'Neil, later becoming Team Mizuno. In 1995, Wanderer helped guide Team Mizuno to a 99-4 season and a National Championship. Wanderer continues to enjoy success coaching for Central Cal VBC of Clovis. His teams consistently qualify to play in the USA Junior National Championships.
USA NATIONAL TEAM PIPELINE
In addition to growing the game locally, Wanderer has been, and continues to be, extremely involved with USA Volleyball. Wanderer has worked with the USA Volleyball since 1995. He has been involved with Select A1, Youth A1, and Junior A1 teams. In 2016, Wanderer became in charge of the USA Women's Collegiate National Team and assisted with our USA Youth National Team as they prepared to compete in the NORCECA tournament where they went on to win a Silver Medal
Q & A WITH COACH:
Why did you come to West Hills?
I would have to say it came down to three primary reasons. Firstly, West Hills presented an opportunity to develop a program that is all my own. I didn't have to follow in the footsteps of someone else. Second, I saw a college that was going somewhere. I saw a president that was an energetic and visionary leader. Lastly, I saw a college that was extremely supportive. The administration and the faculty were very friendly and supportive of not only the athletic teams but of the athletes as well. That is rare in college athletics.
What was the transition like going from a successful Division I program to building a Junior College Program?
That first season was perhaps the hardest season I ever experienced. It was hard to swallow. There were several matches that I didn't even call a single time out, because I knew that it wouldn't make a difference. What really kept me going was knowing that things would change. I had to keep everything in perspective. I had to stick to my vision.
What's your plan for the program?
Our first priority is to recruit quality athletes. Treat them with dignity and respect. This is a first class program. We need to treat the athletes like first class people. What you put in is directly related to what you get out. We want to play in the state playoffs year in and year out.
What is it that you look for in an athlete?
I look at many things: Attitude, heart, intensity, potential, overall skill, coachability, and have goals. There are many factors, but I would rather have a 5'5 player who plays hard than a 6'3 player that doesn't. Skills are big factor, but I can train players. I look mostly for the fighter.
What do you like most about being at West Hills?
The people. Without a doubt the people make all the difference. Ivy covered buildings are nice to look at, but they're not going to help you when struggling through a math class. The people here genuinely care about the students.
How did get started in coaching?
A good friend of mine asked me to help him with his high school team. I was playing for San Jose State at the time, and he needed a JV coach. I took the job, loved being help to help the young athletes, and never looked back.
What was your greatest thrill in volleyball?
I've had many fond memories from coaching. Every team has a special place in my heart. I think perhaps the best time of my life was when our club team won the National Championship at the Junior Olympics AND two days later my daughter was born. That was the best week of my life.
Do you have any other goals?
I want all of my players to become successful people. Successful in volleyball, of course, but also successful in their life's ambitions. I think players can learn to be successful in life, by being successful on the court. My real rewards come from seeing players I've coached go on to become successful people.