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The University of California, Merced athletic department is proud to announce the hiring of Surabordin "Ai" Prachumsri as the Bobcats' new head men's volleyball coach.
After a successful 2016 campaign as the women's volleyball coach, and then bringing the men's volleyball team to a record high win total in 2017 as the interim head coach, Prachumsri will now get the interim tag removed from his title.
"It has been a privilege to have the chance to watch the men's team grow over the years and a blessing to get the chance to lead this group of young men," Prachumsri said.
Coach Prachumsri, who will also maintain his title as head coach of the women's volleyball team, led the women's team to a 12-13 record this past season and a trip to the California Pacific Conference semifinals. After a slow start, Prachumsri rallied the troops and helped them find their stride, finishing the year winning ten of their final 12 matches and securing a place in the playoffs.
Upon stepping in midseason as the interim head coach of the men's team, Prachumsri led the team to their best season in program history, finishing the year with a 7-11 record. The season included consecutive victories over Hope International University for the first time in program history, and a stretch that saw the team win seven of ten matches in March as well as earning a spot in the conference tournament.
"Ai has done a tremendous job leading our men's volleyball program during this past season, helping the team to its best record to date," director of recreation and athletics David Dunham said. "I am confident he will be able to continue this success moving forward. Ai has proven to be a great motivator and has the ability to pull the team together to focus on their common team goals. I am excited to have Ai continue to lead our men's volleyball program."
Prior to the 2016-17 year, Prachumsri was a member of the UC Merced men's volleyball coaching staff for the past two seasons where he assisted in all aspects of the program from administrative responsibilities and recruiting to practice planning. He joined the women's volleyball program as the lead assistant for the 2015 season. That 2015 season was their most successful to date as the team ended the season with a 14-10 overall record and 6-4 in California Pacific Conference play.
Prior to his time as a coach at UC Merced, Prachumsri was a student athlete on campus and graduated in 2014 with a degree in Bioengineering. As a student athlete at UC Merced, he competed as a member of the men's volleyball club team for three years and in 2013, as the program was elevated to the intercollegiate level, he competed as the starting libero for the inaugural squad.