J.T. Wenger – a former assistant coach at UCLA, Colorado and Michigan State – is in his first season as the head coach at UTA.
Wenger, a native of Highland Park, Ill., takes over at UTA after serving as an assistant coach at Michigan State (2016), associate head coach at Colorado (2012-15) and men's assistant coach at UCLA (2006-11).
A former star at powerhouse UCLA, Wenger is a two-time "30 Under 30" honoree by the American Volleyball Coaches Association, created to identify up-and-coming coaches under 30 years old.
During his collegiate coaching career, Wenger has had great success, most recently with the Spartans. In 2016, MSU posted its highest finish in the Big Ten since 2007 while compiling a 25-9 overall record. With 13 conference wins, it marked the fourth-most in program history, and the Spartans finished the season ranked No. 19 in the final AVCA National poll. MSU earned the No. 9 national seed in the NCAA Tournament and advanced to the second round.
While at Colorado, Wenger helped lead the Buffs to a pair of NCAA second-round appearances, helping CU to significant improvement in the stout Pac-12. In 2015, Wenger helped lead Colorado to six wins over top-25 foes, a season after five top-25 wins for the Buffs. Wenger, who was named associate head coach in 2014, helped guide Colorado to two NCAA second-round appearances in 2013 and 2014, with the Buffs owning a 57-42 record over his final three seasons. Colorado worked its way up the rugged league standings during his tenure, going from 10th in 2012 (4-16) to seventh in 2013 (9-11), fourth in 2014 (11-9) and fifth in 2015 (11-9).
During his tenure at UCLA, Wenger was an assistant under legendary coach Al Scates, who retired as the all-time winningest coach in Division I Volleyball history, claiming 19 national championships. While at UCLA, Wenger saw the Bruins ranked in the top-10 nationally for 106 of his 108 weeks.
Wenger is active in the USA Volleyball organization, serving as an assistant coach on the 2011 USA team during the World University Games in Shenzhen, China. He also helped coach the 2009 USA Men's Junior National Team at the World Championships in Pune, India. He has also been active with the USA High Performance program in 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2015.
During his playing career, Wenger paced UCLA to the national tournament in each season, including a national runner-up finish in 2001 and a national championship in 2000 during his redshirt season. The Bruins made the regionals in 2002 and the regional semifinals in 2004, a club that was captained by Wenger to a 24-6 record. He earned a bachelor's degree in political science in 2004 and was a 10-time member of the director's academic honor roll. Prior to UCLA, Wenger – the 1999 Illinois Volleyball Player of the Year – played soccer and volleyball at Highland Park High School.
Before joining the collegiate sidelines as a member of the UCLA men's staff, Wenger served as a coach on the prep level. He led the Marymount High School girls' team to the 2011 California D1 State Championship game and the 2002 California DIII State Championship. He also coached the Sunshine Volleyball Club 14s in 2003-04 and 2006.
Wenger takes over at UTA for Diane Seymour, who served as head coach of the Mavericks from 2004-16. He is the seventh coach in the history of the program.
Wenger and his wife Marissa, have a daughter, Vivienne, and a son, Reid.
THE WENGER FILE
UTA (2017) – Head Coach
Michigan State (2016) – Assistant Coach
Colorado (2012-15) – Associate Head Coach
UCLA Men's Volleyball (2006-11) – Assistant Coach
NCAA/Professional Playing Career
Corozal Plantaneros (Liga de Voleibol Superior Masculino in Puerto Rico)
UCLA: Bachelor of Arts, Political Science (2004)
Children: Vivienne, Reid