The Bruins are in for a change of leadership for the first time since 2010, losing the coach who led them to the 2011 NCAA title.
Michael Sealy is stepping down as head coach of UCLA women’s volleyball, the team announced Thursday.
Since Sealy took over in 2010, the Bruins compiled a 273-128 overall record, even winning the 2011 national championship. Sealy led UCLA to 10 NCAA tournament appearances across his 13-year tenure, in addition to four Sweet 16s, but will now depart to pursue other professional opportunities.
“I’d like to thank Dan Guerrero and Petrina Long for giving me the initial opportunity to be a head coach at UCLA and Martin Jarmond for extending that tenure,” Sealy said in a statement released by the team. “I have to thank Andy Banachowski for building the legacy which is the foundation that I’ve been fortunate enough to stand on over these 13 years. I will be forever grateful for Al Scates for giving me the opportunity to come to UCLA twice, once as a player and again as a coach. It’s been an amazing chapter full of euphoric highs and devastating lows and I would not change one thing from that journey.”
Sealy’s journey began with UCLA men’s volleyball, where he was a four-year letterwinner from 1990 to 1993. The Bruins won the national championship in 1994, while Sealy earned AVCA First Team All-American honors that season for the second time in his career.
The Santa Monica native returned to Westwood as an assistant coach for the men’s team from 2003 to 2006, culminating in another NCAA title, and he also spent 2005 as an assistant for the women’s team. After a four-year stint as the associate head coach for Hawaii women’s volleyball – even leading the Rainbow Warriors to a national semifinals berth in 2009 – then-athletic director Dan Guerrero brought him back to Southern California.
In just his second year at the helm, Sealy guided the Bruins to their fourth NCAA title and seven national championship. Across his 13 years heading up the program, UCLA never went one-and-done in the postseason.
“Mike is and will always be a great Bruin. He won a national championship as both a student-athlete and a head coach,” Jarmond said in a statement. “We thank Mike for his many contributions and wish him well in his future endeavors.”
UCLA hardly approached its 2011 levels of success in the following decade, however, only making it past the Sweet 16 once and never making it past the Elite Eight. The Bruins made it to the Sweet 16 in 2021 after a four-year hiatus, even notching their best regular season record in 10 years, but they were unable to capitalize on their veteran roster by bringing home another title.
The program took a major step back in 2022, finishing 16-13 with a 4-6 record at home and missing the NCAA tournament altogether. Sealy lost his last three matches against crosstown rival USC – including a 3-1 loss in last Friday’s regular season finale – and he lost to Stanford in straight sets in both meetings this year.
Sealy also failed to win a single Pac-12 regular season championship during his time as head coach. In the time since UCLA last won a share of the title in 1999, USC has won five, Washington has won seven and Stanford has won 12.
A national search for Sealy’s replacement, led by Senior Associate Athletic Director Dr. Kenny Donaldson, will begin immediately, per UCLA Athletics.
This will be the fifth head coaching change in Westwood since Jarmond took over as athletic director in July 2020, all of which have happened in the past 12 months. UCLA hired Margueritte Aozasa as its women’s soccer coach in December 2021, Janelle McDonald as its gymnastics coach in May, Previn Chandraratna as its women’s rowing coach in June and Armen Kirakossian as its men’s golf coach two weeks after that.
Three of those four hires were external, with each of the outsiders coming from other Pac-12 programs in Stanford, Cal and Arizona State.
Jarmond has yet to publicly fire a head coach, with Sealy following women’s soccer coach Amanda Cromwell, gymnastics coach Chris Waller, men’s golf coach Derek Freeman and women’s rowing coach Amy Fuller Kearney by voluntarily ending his tenure in Westwood.