Former UCSB star right side hitter Cullen Irons was hired as an assistant coach by Rick McLaughlin in August 2013. He was named the 2016 AVCA National Assistant Coach of the Year after helping the team to its second 20-win season in the last quarter-century.
His four years with the program since have been some of the most productive in program history, as the Gauchos have accrued a 70-45 record (.609 winning percentage) in that time.
"Cullen brings a great level of experience to our staff," said McLaughlin. "Everything he went through during the last three years of his Gaucho career leading up to his team's appearance in the 2011 National Championship match is exactly what our current Gauchos are experiencing in pursuit of our goal of a national title. Sharing his experiences will definitely help our guys stay focused and motivate them to do what it takes."
The Hanford, Calif. native had at least 250 kills and 100 digs in all three of his years as a starter for the Gauchos, finishing with career marks of 953 kills, 575 digs, and 174 blocks. His career dig total ranks eighth in program history. He placed second on the team behind Jeff Menzel in kills in both 2010 and 2011. Irons was named to the All-NCAA Tournament Team in 2011 after leading the team in kills and ranking second in blocks and digs over two games at Penn State's Rec Hall as he led the Gauchos to the cusp of a National Championship.