UMES VOLLEYBALL ARCHITECT TOBY RENS RETURNS HOME
May 12, 2014
PRINCESS ANNE, Md. - Former University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) head women's volleyball coach Toby Rens is now the new head women's volleyball coach at UMES, Director of Athletics Keith Davidson announced today. Rens, returns to the Hawks, a program he left in 2004, to once again rebuild the program.
"Toby [Rens] is the coach we know," said Davidson, who served as the Assistant Director for Athletics for Compliance during Rens' final year at UMES. "He is a hard worker, a student of the game and more importantly a high character individual. He knows what it takes to win here and we are thrilled to have him back."
The architect of the success experienced by UMES Volleyball over the past decade can really be credited to Rens, who inherited a program who had not won in over two years. In 2001 he won just three matches but quickly turned the program around. In 2002 he went 20-15 and one season later, in 2003, his last with the Hawks, the program set a school record 26-12 mark until it was broken in 2012 with 28 wins. The 2001 to 2002 season marked the best single season turnaround in the NCAA. He won Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Coach of the Year in 2002.
"This is a terrific opportunity and I am honored to lead the program to the next level. This will be an exciting and thrilling journey as we prepare for a successful future," said Rens. He again inherits a struggling team, having won just three matches in 2013, but making the NCAA Tournament the previous two years under former coach Don Metil.
"With the support of President Bell, Mr. Davidson, Neema Connor and Stan Bradley we have the opportunity to build something special here. I really look forward to building on the success that Don Metil established," added Rens.
"I feel like Coach Rens never got to taste the fruits of his labor," said Davidson. "He built the program into a perennial contender in the MEAC, but he never got to take the Hawks to the NCAA Tournament. We feel like this is his opportunity for some unfinished business."
His stamp on the program is still seen today as UMES has won 19 or more matches in eight of the ten seasons since he left.
Rens has been busy since his time away from UMES. He left the Hawks after three years to coach Long Island University-Brooklyn for four years, winning the Northeast Conference (NEC) and taking them to the NCAA tournament each season. He went 106-46 during that time, a near 70% winning percentage, averaging 26.5 wins each year. Rens was NEC Coach of the Year in 2005. His teams there earned the AVCA Academic Award three times (2007-08, 2006-07 and 2004-05) and regularly boasted one of the highest team grade-point averages at LIU, twice taking top honors. Two of his student-athletes were named to the 2007 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District Team.
He left the Blackbirds for the University of Pittsburg, where he stayed for five seasons and in 2009 won a program record 12 conference wins in the highly competitive Big East. He took them to a school record five consecutive Big East Tournament appearances. While with the Panthers, he coached three All-Americans, five All-Region selections, 11 All-Conference nods and a Big East Player of the Year and Libero of the Year. His team had the highest GPA in the department two of his five years at Pitt.
Last season he was at Chicago State, where he inherited a program that had won just five matches in the previous five seasons, garnering a pair of wins with just seven primary players. That was his 15th season as an NCAA women's head coach and he carries an overall record of 300-219, a winning percentage of almost 58% for his career.
Rens started his head coaching career at Northern Michigan, where he went 58-17 over two seasons, earning conference titles and NCAA Tournament berths in both seasons. Five Wildcats earned AVCA All-Region honors with a pair being named All-Americans. He then was an assistant at Texas Tech for one year before coming to UMES. He has also been an assistant at George Washington (1994-97), Tennessee Tech (1993) and his alma mater, Morningside College (1992).
"When I got the call from Mr. Davidson asking me to return to Maryland Eastern Shore the choice was easy and the offer too good to turn down. In a business that is all about relationships UMES has some of the finest people around," Rens said. He has been highly active in national volleyball circles, serving as a member of the NCAA Division I Head Coaches Committee and as a voter in the USA Today Top 25 Coaches Poll.
A native of Orange City, Iowa, Rens graduated from Morningside in 1993 with a bachelor's in physical education.
"The University of Maryland Eastern Shore has always been a special place for me. The beautiful campus, the administration, fellow coaches and the surrounding community are what make the Eastern Shore feel like home," Rens concluded.