(Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
PROVO, Utah – BYU men’s volleyball head coach Chris McGown announced the hiring of former Cougar player Luka Slabe as an assistant coach Wednesday.
“We are so fortunate to have Luka join our staff,” McGown said. “I feel like he’ll have an instant impact on our program. He brings an incredible level of experience with him as a player and a coach, along with an almost legendary intensity and enthusiasm. Our players will learn so much from him – not only from his technical expertise, but from his work ethic as well.”
At BYU, Slabe will join associate head coach Rob Neilson, volunteer assistant Carl McGown and technical assistant Giuseppe Vinci, who round out the coaching staff.
Slabe comes to Provo after serving as the head coach of the Slovenia men’s national team as well as the head coach of Posojilnica Aich Dob. Additionally, Slabe was the head coach of several other European teams following a professional European playing career: Ach Volley Ljubljana, Team Calcit Kamnik and Uko Kropa.
Slovenia men’s national team
During his time as the head coach of the Slovenia men’s national team, Slabe increased the team’s European rankings with successful runs in the European League (2014), European and World Championship Qualification Tournaments (2014) and the European Championships (2013).
Posojilnica Aich Dob
Slabe took on an additional head coaching job in 2014 as coach of Posojilnica Aich Dob – the Austrian professional team. The team competed in what is commonly known as the best professional league in the world – the Deniz Bank Championship League.
Ach Volley Ljubljana
Beginning in 2012, Slabe coached Ach Volley Ljubljana, leading his team to two national titles and two MEVZA titles. As head coach, his team achieved a top-12 standing in the Deniz Bank Champions League.
Team Calcit Kamnik
In 2011, Slabe became the head coach of Team Calcit Kamnik. He led the club to an appearance in the finals of the National Division I Championships that year. He also led the team to the round of 16 in the CEV Cup and the quarterfinals of the Challenger Cup Tournament.
Following graduation, Slabe played volleyball professionally in Europe for several years before being named the head coach of Uko Kropa in 2008. He took the team from a Division II league to the Division I premier league after winning the Slovenian Division II Championship in his first year there. Additionally, he coached his team to the quarterfinals of the Division I Championships the following season and the Division I Finals in his third year.
As a player
Slabe was a 2003 graduate of Brigham Young, earning a bachelor’s degree in athletic training. He competed as a member of BYU’s men’s volleyball team from 2000-2003. Slabe competed on the 2001 NCAA Championship team as well as the 2003 NCAA Runner-Up team.
“I am honored to return to the Smith Fieldhouse and this great university after being away for more than a decade,” Slabe said. “I'm looking forward to applying my international coaching experience and giving back to the program that gave so much to me as a player.
"We will have a strong team returning next season, and as always, BYU will be led with a very strong staff. So, I'm encouraged to be a part of a great learning environment and to help build upon the strong foundation that is already in place."