Volleyball coach fired; BYU investigating program

By JJ Despain

The Daily Universe, Brigham Young U. via UWIRE

BYU’s head coach for men’s volleyball has been fired. Athletic director Tom Holmoe announced Shawn Patchell’s dismissal Wednesday in a statement.

“Shawn Patchell has been released of his duties at the university effective immediately,” the statement said.

The statement also said BYU is currently investigating and looking for possible infractions against NCAA regulations within the volleyball program.

Quentin Smith, a junior on the volleyball team, said he was following instructions from now interim head coach Rob Neilson in declining to comment.

“It’s a sensitive subject,” Smith said.

One source told The (Provo) Daily Herald the alleged NCAA violations involve the distribution of scholarship money.

Kevin Sagers, a senior who was third on the team in kills last season, said Patchell’s departure will greatly affect him and his teammates.

“It’s obviously a huge blow to morale and chemistry,” Sagers said. “Definitely a new adjustment.”

Sagers said he knew there was an investigation happening but nothing else.

“We heard that some things had gone on,” Sagers said. “I just heard that there was an investigation going on, and they’d let us know when they figured it all out.”

This is not the first time BYU men’s volleyball has experienced problems with breaking NCAA rules. In 2008, head coach Tom Peterson resigned after improper benefits were given to two athletes, including one who never enrolled at BYU. The NCAA punished BYU men’s volleyball with three years probation, limits on recruiting and a reduction in scholarships.

Sagers said he still admires Patchell as a coach and hopes his influence will help the team in the upcoming season.

“He’s one of the most talented coaches still I think in the country,” Sagers said. “So hopefully the talent carries through a little bit.”

Patchell coached the Cougars for four years with a 65-24 overall record as head coach. Under his direction, BYU finished last season ranked No. 2 in the country. He also is a former BYU player and had the highest hitting percentage in the nation his junior year.

Sagers said he hopes to learn more about what led to Patchell’s sudden departure.

“I’d be interested to maybe talk to some athletic directors and find out exactly what went on,” Sagers said.

Read more here: http://universe.byu.edu/node/10130
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