Russ Friedland, who played an integral role in the turnaround of the East Carolina program the last two seasons, has been named ULM's 11th head volleyball coach, earlier this year.
Friedland established himself as one of the nation's up-and-coming assistant coaches during his two-year tenure at East Carolina under head coach Julie Torbett. In 2017, ECU finished 22-11 overall, including a single-season record 13 wins in American Athletic Conference play (13-7). The Pirates produced the most victories in a single season since 1982, its first 20-win season since 2005 and its first winning record since 2006. After being selected 11th in the AAC preseason poll, ECU posted its first winning league record since 2006 and its highest finish in any conference standings since 2000. In addition, ECU finished 2017 ranked No. 12 in the Midwest Region, according to the Rich Kern RPI (RKPI).
Last season, ECU produced Top 10 single-season marks in six statistical categories, including assists (fourth with 1,498), digs (fourth with 1,986), hitting percentage (fifth at .230), block assists (fifth with 434), kills (sixth with 1,608) and total blocks (ninth with 276.0).
In 2015, ECU took a large stride in the rebuilding process, posting a 15-15 record its first non-losing season since 2006. The Pirates started the season 10-0, putting together the longest winning streak in school history, and won every non-conference match for the first time in program history. ECU also won 12 matches away from Greenville, North Carolina, including seven true road victories as well as the first road weekend sweep of two AAC opponents (Tulane and Houston).
Friedland also spent the three years as an assistant coach at UNLV where his main focus was serving as the recruiting coordinator. During his time in the Las Vegas Valley, the Rebels amassed a 58-34 record and produced a winning season all three campaigns. UNLV finished two matches over .500 (16-14) in 2013 before it won 78.8 percent (26-7) of its contests a year later.
Friedland helped mentor a total of six student-athletes to Mountain West All-Conference honors from 2013-15. Sekola Falemaka was recognized as an All-Mountain West Team member in 2013, while Allison Davies (2014), Daryn Glenn (2014), Bree Hammel (2014 and 2015), Alexis Patterson (2014) and Katlin Winters (2014: Honorable Mention) earned all-conference accolades as well.
The 2014 campaign was a memorable one for Friedland and the Rebels as the team set single-season program records in overall (26) and conference (14) wins. UNLV reset a total of seven program marks and tied five more and was rewarded with five selections to the All-Mountain West team including Hammel - an AVCA All-Pacific South Region Honorable Mention selection. The Rebels knocked off then-No. 7 Colorado State at home and the victory represented the highest ranked opponent UNLV had defeated in program history.
Prior to moving to Las Vegas, Friedland served as a volunteer assistant coach at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville following a four-year run as the head coach at the Metro American Volleyball Club 17-1 (MAVBC) in Washington, D.C.
During his last season at Tennessee, Friedland helped the Lady Vols to a 22-8 overall mark and a trip to the 2012 NCAA Tournament. The year concluded with a 3-2 loss to Michigan in the first round of the event. Before the loss, Tennessee had rattled off 13 wins in their final 14 regular-season matches following a 9-5 start to the year.
Friedland's responsibilities at Tennessee were assisting Rob Patrick, a two-time National Coach of the Year, with mentoring the setters and defensive specialists as well as off-the-court duties such as opponent scouting, film breakdown and exchange and helping coach and run camps.
Before his time at UT, Friendland helped qualify the MAVBC's 17-Travel squad to multiple girls junior national championships. His team also received a No. 1 ranking in the Chesapeake Region in 2012 after winning the South Atlantic title in both 2010 and `11. During his tenure with the club team, Friedland worked as an assistant coach at Howard University where he helped the Bison to a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Tournament appearance.
In addition to his time at Tennessee and Howard, Friedland assisted the volleyball staffs at George Washington University, American University and the University of Connecticut. He also served as head coach of the men's and women's teams at Daniel Webster College from 2007-08.
A native of Mansfield, Conn., Friedland earned his undergraduate degree in sport management from Endicott College in Beverly, Mass., in 2005. A four-year letterwinner on the men's volleyball team, he received his M.B.A. from his alma mater a year later.