05/12/06 — Gutor to coach Ukraine National team

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Gutor to coach Ukraine National team

By MOC Sports Information
Published in Sports on May 12, 2006 2:08 PM

Mount Olive head men's and women's volleyball coach Sasha Gutor has been named head coach of the Ukranian Women's Volleyball National Team. Gutor is spending the summer in the Ukraine as the team prepares to compete in a qualifier for the European Championship.

Gutor, who will begin his fourth year at Mount Olive in the fall, arrived in the Ukraine in late April, shortly after the Trojan men's volleyball season concluded. The qualifier is scheduled for May 26-28. Ukraine will compete against Austria, Hungary and the Czech Republic.

Gutor, a native of Ukraine, was one of three candidates selected to be interviewed after a worldwide search.

The 20-player Ukranian squad has already been selected. Gutor says the team's ultimate goal is to qualify for the 2008 Olympics and that this month's qualifier is the first step.

"Ukraine volleyball has been strong historically, but it's been down a bit the last couple years," said Gutor. "We're trying to return to a championship level."

Gutor added, "We have a lot of height on the team, including a 6-2 setter. We have many outstanding players on the squad. The key will be to get everybody to work together as a team."

Mount Olive women's volleyball has compiled a record of 52-21 in Gutor's first two years as head coach. The Trojans won the 2005 Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference regular season title and have advanced to NCAA Division II championship play both years.

Gutor has extensive experience coaching at the international level, including 10 years as head coach of the Ukranian Junior Men's Republic Volleyball Team.

He also spent two years as head coach of the U.S.S.R. Junior Men's National Volleyball Team and has coached elite teams in Hungary, Slovakia and the United Arab Emirates.

Despite the change in setting between Mount Olive and the Ukraine, Gutor says his coaching style will remain unchanged.

"I don't plan on making any changes in the way I coach," said Gutor.

"I'll just need to gauge what level the players are at and then go from there."