The holiday season marks a significant change for the Bruins.
On December 27 of last year, UCLA women’s volleyball head coach Alfee Reft began looking for a new, four-person staff to fill out his first coaching staff. Associate head coach Jen Malcom and assistant coach Amir Lugo-Rodriguez were the first to receive the call-up – but less than a year later, the quartet made a comeback.
Malcom is set to leave Westwood and head north to serve as California’s head honcho before moving to the ACC, the team announced Saturday morning. He replaces interim head coach Crissy Jones Schoonderwoerd, who guided the Golden Bears to a 16-15 record on the season.
Reft, who is a seasonal assistant coach for the United States women’s volleyball team, was unavailable for five of the Bruins’ 10 nonconference games, as well as the team’s first two Pac-12 contests while serving in the same role. Malcom served as interim head coach for seven seasons, piloting UCLA to a 4-3 record including a three-game winning streak to begin his tenure.
In a win over Long Beach State during Malcom’s interim tenure, the Bruins recorded a season-high 19 blocks. Malcom spurred graduate student middle blocker Desiree Becker to nine blocks of her own, a season-best number.
“He (Malcom) has coached and developed the block and defense of his players to be some of the best in the country,” Reft said in a Q&A before the 2023 season.
The Bruins finished their 2023 campaign ranked fourth in blocks per set among all Pac-12 teams.
Malcom spent seven years at his alma mater – Iowa State – prior to his time at UCLA, where he marshaled the Cyclones to their first 20-win season since 2018, as well as five NCAA tournament appearances. Her spell in Ames, Iowa, included a National Invitational Volleyball Championship title in 2018.
After 13 years coaching four different Power 5 programs, Malcom will take over as head coach of the Golden Bears as they prepare for their first season in the ACC.
“Jen has coached at the highest level of college volleyball and has a proven record of success as a student-athlete and a coach,” said Cal athletic director Jim Knowlton. “With his 13 years of experience as an assistant coach, along with his ability to relate and develop student-athletes, I am confident that he is the right person to lead our program into the ACC.”
The Bruin coaching landscape will be forced to undergo another change as UCLA enters the offseason.