Since coming to The Farm as an assistant coach under Fred Sturm in 1987, Ruben Nieves, now in his 11th year at the helm, has established the Stanford men’s volleyball program amongst the nation’s elite. The all-time winningest coach in the history of Stanford men’s volleyball, Nieves enters the 2001 campaign with a 163-83 overall coaching record, including a 121-63 MPSF Conference mark.
In 1997, Nieves guided the Cardinal to a 27-3 record and the NCAA championship en route to being named Volleyball Magazine and AVCA National Coach of the Year. On April 4, 1999, Stanford defeated UC San Diego 15-7, 15-3, 15-5 at Burnham Pavilion for his record-setting 152nd career victory.
Last season, Nieves took a young Stanford squad that featured seven freshmen and molded it into a competitive unit that finished the year 10-13 overall and 9-10 in the MPSF. The Cardinal posted four wins over teams ranked in the nation’s top 15, including a five-game upset victory over then-No. 1 Long Beach State on April 1.
In his first ten seasons as Stanford’s head coach, Nieves has led his team to three 20-win seasons (1992, ’94, ’97), including 1997’s record-breaking 27-win campaign. In addition, Nieves’ teams have captured three MPSF championships (1993, ’94 and ’97) along with second-place finishes in 1992, ’95 and ’98. Nieves has coached 24 all-conference selections, nine All-Americans, five U.S. National Team members, two Olympic Team members, two AVCA Freshmen of the Year, two MPSF Freshmen of the Year, and Canon Ceman, the 1993 MPSF and AVCA National Player of the Year.
Nieves previously served four seasons as an assistant to Sturm, helping lead the Cardinal to the 1989 NCAA title match. Nieves was also an assistant to women’s head coach Don Shaw when Stanford reached the Final Four in 1986 and ’87.
In addition to guiding the Cardinal to national prominence, Nieves has also played an important role in the development of the US. National Team. Over the past eleven years, Nieves has taken on various short term assignments in the National Team Program. These assignments include: assistant coach at the World League Finals, assistant coach to the National "B" Team, assistant coach for the World University Games team, head coach of the Youth National Team and advisory staff member at the Atlanta Olympics. In summer 1999, Nieves served as a scout at the World League Finals in Mar Del Plaze, Argentina. In summer 2000, he served as head of delegation for the U.S. Junior National Team during the Norceca Championship Tournament in Havana, Cuba.
Nieves, 41, played collegiately at Santa Barbara City College in 1978-79 before playing under Sturm at Stanford for two seasons. As a setter and defensive specialist for the Cardinal, he earned the prestigious Block S Award for outstanding achievement in 1980.
Nieves and his wife, Annie, reside with their four-year-old son, Jesse, on the Stanford campus.