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Former Auburn volleyball coach Kris Grunwald, who helped lead the Tigers to an SEC Western Division title in 1996, returns to the Auburn sideline in 2012 as he has been named the Tigers' assistant coach, Head Coach Rick Nold announced on Feb. 10.
"I am very excited to add a coach of Kris' caliber to our program," Nold said. "Kris was on the Auburn staff the last time we won the SEC West championship, and I am confident that he is the perfect person to help lead us to another and more. Kris is an excellent technician, and I believe his coaching style along with his experience in the SEC will make him an invaluable asset to both our players and staff."
Grunwald comes to Auburn after spending the last four years as an assistant at Arkansas. He previously served as an assistant coach at Auburn from 1994-1997, then took the reins as the Tigers' head coach in 1998 and 1999.
Under Grunwald's leadership as head coach, Auburn amassed a 41-20 record over two seasons, posting a 22-win campaign in 1998 and 19 wins the following season. He also helped the Tigers to the SEC Western Division title as an assistant in 1996 when the team went 22-9 overall, 11-4 in league play.
"From a personal standpoint, it's really exciting to be back at Auburn," Grunwald said. "I'm familiar with a lot of the administration, the campus and the people. It feels like I'm coming home to an extent. It makes it a very comfortable transition for me. One of the most exciting things from a volleyball standpoint is helping Rick create a tradition of success at this level. I have about 16 years of experience in the SEC, so that can certainly provide some support for the program. It's a really exciting time to be at Auburn with what the University has started to build here."
In four seasons as an assistant coach for Arkansas, Grunwald focused his attention on recruiting and opponent breakdown. He helped coordinate the Razorbacks' top-45 recruiting class in 2009, which included All-American Jasmine Norton and SEC All-Freshman Amanda Anderson.
In the PrepVolleyball.com release of the nation's top recruiting classes in 2010, Arkansas received honorable mention accolades. That class included setter Raymariely Santos, who went on to be named a member of the 2010 Freshman All-SEC Team, the third such honor for the Razorbacks in two seasons.
Grunwald was a three-time Asics Honorable Mention All-American and three-time All-East First-Team performer for the George Mason volleyball team (1988-91), which reached the Final Four in 1988. In the George Mason career records book, he is second in kills (1,764), fourth in digs (676) and seventh in blocks (394). He moved on to Florida State for his graduate work where he served as an assistant coach for three seasons (1991-93).
He assumed a larger role as the recruiting coordinator when he joined the Auburn staff as an assistant in 1994, a position he held until 1998. Grunwald stepped into the head coaching job with Auburn for the 1998 and 1999 seasons.
Grunwald went to the University of Michigan to become the compliance service coordinator for the Wolverines from 2000-02, assisting with student-athlete certification, eligibility and NCAA rules interpretation.
Coaching came calling once again in 2002 when he returned to the SEC as an assistant coach for Ole Miss, a position he held through the 2005 season. From his spot with the Rebels, Grunwald became the associate head coach at Morehead State until accepting the position at Arkansas prior to the 2008 season.
Grunwald is a 1991 graduate of George Mason University with a bachelor's degree in mathematics. He earned his master's degree in mathematics education at Florida State in 1993.
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