Buffalo, NY – Director of Athletics Brian Cavanaugh and the D'Youville Athletic Department are pleased to announce the hiring of Chris Krueger as the new head coach of the D'Youville men's volleyball program.
"I'm incredibly excited to be back, and I'm honored to be selected for this position, especially in reflecting on all of the players and coaches who have come before me," said Krueger on his new position. "I would like to make sure that I take the time to thank all of my past coaches and colleagues in the volleyball community for helping me get to this point, as well as the administration at D'Youville for the opportunity. The growth that I have seen on this campus in the short time that I've been gone has been tremendous and I look forward to contributing to the future of the athletics department."
Krueger comes to D'Youville with unique set of experiences both as a player, head, and assistant coach at the collegiate level. A former Spartan, Chris played four years for D'Youville from 2010 to 2013 and has his name in several categories of the D'Youville record book. His unique perspective and experience with the program coincide with his head coaching experience as head men and women's volleyball coach at Hilbert College and assistant coach at Canisius College. However, Krueger's ultimate desire has been to get back to coaching at D'Youville.
"It has always been a goal of mine to lead this program and I don't take lightly the responsibility of being chosen for this position,' said Krueger. "I feel like the first few stops on my coaching journey have all played a role in preparing me for this."
Chris has spent the past two seasons with Canisius College Golden Griffins as their women's volleyball assistant coach at the Division I level. Of his primary responsibilities, Krueger worked with the outside hitters and middle blockers, developing scouting reports, and the use of analytics. In 2018, the team saw a seven-match improvement in victories as they finished second in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) regular season standings and their first ever MAAC championship game appearance.
With Krueger's tutelage, the team set a new attacking percentage record at .252 during the 2018 season. In addition, the team had six players selected to MAAC postseason teams – including the MAAC Libero of the Year, two All-MAAC First Team selections, and two All-MAAC Rookie Team selections.
"My experience at Canisius the past two seasons has taught me the little things that go into developing a winning culture. These include, how do we communicate best as a team, what's our motivation, how do we uplift our teammates to perform at a higher level – the answers to these questions are what set winning teams apart and the level of competition does not matter in developing a championship mindset."
Prior to his time at Canisius, Chris spent three seasons leading the men's volleyball program at Hilbert College and then took on the head coaching role for two seasons with the women from 2014-17. Krueger coached nine Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference (AMCC) all-conference players as well as 17 AMCC Academic All-Conference players.
In 2016, the men's program set new program records in wins and conference wins – matching the number of conference victories the program had amassed over the previous ten seasons as well as a top-10 finish nationally with 10.39 team digs/set. Academically, the team received national recognition as one of eleven NCAA men's volleyball programs (Division I-III) to receive the AVCA Team Academic Award in 2015-2016 for achieving a cumulative team GPA of greater than 3.3 and the first ever AVCA National Player of the Week award in Hilbert's program history, on March 31, 2015.
With his previous knowledge and experience with AMCC opponents and rules, coach Krueger knows that it will help him in his new position and set the team up for success.
"My prior understanding of the AMCC will help me in discovering what it will take to win games and in identifying the types of athletes who will be able to find success within this conference. I will continue to draw from my previous knowledge while learning how this conference has changed, adding four new associate members since I was last a part of it."
Going back to his playing days as a Spartan, Krueger tallied 702 kills for fourth all-time in program history during his four-year career. He also ranks fourth in matches played at 358 and fifth in total blocks with 208 and was a two-year captain for the men. Chris played both outside hitter and middle blocker for the Spartans and was a two-time AMCC Second Team All-Conference selection.
On his expectations as a coach, Chris' focus will be on creating a culture. Not only does he expect to perform on the court, but he also expects the team to grow together off it.
"I expect to lead the team in developing a culture centered around brotherhood and create an atmosphere that is conducive to growth, all while continuing to be aggressive in strategies to attack our opponents," said Krueger. "I would like there to be an environment focused around learning both on and off the court and hope that this program will become an integral part of the college's continued growth within athletics."
Within his first few weeks, coach Krueger has several things he would like to do with his team. Long-term, bringing a presence back to the men's volleyball program, impacting the school, and bringing past players and coaches back are all goals that not only he, but the entire team would like to attain.
"I look most forward to developing our culture, finding out who we are, and what makes us tick so to speak," he said looking forward. "Building that up will be the foundation of what we do moving forward. I also want to get this campus community excited about this men's volleyball program! In that, I not only mean our students, faculty and staff but also the proud alumni of the men's volleyball program, some who still check box scores from out of town despite graduating years ago. Bringing alumni back around and building a community around this program is something I look forward to greatly."