College

Friday, Jan 24 2014 10:55 PM

Shepardson's decision to leave CSUB happened quickly

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    By CALIFORNIAN FILE

    CSUB volleyball coaches Jolene and Aaron Shepardson were hired by San Jose State.

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BY JEFF EVANS Californian staff writer jevans@bakersfield.com

A week ago, leaving Cal State Bakersfield's volleyball program wasn't on coach Jolene Shepardson's radar.

That all changed on Monday.

"It happened so quick," Shepardson said Friday, the day after she accepted the head volleyball coaching job at San Jose State.

"We weren't looking for this opportunity. It just came upon us," she said.

"They brought us up there Monday, offered us (the job) Tuesday and we said we'd get back to them Wednesday," Shepardson said, referring to her and her husband, Aaron, who was CSUB's associate head coach who also oversaw the Roadrunners' sand volleyball team.

"I love challenges," she said. "Aaron and I are big risk takers. We like to see what we have and see how good we can make it. We have a great opportunity there."

The Shepardsons arrived at CSUB in the spring of 2011 after the previous coach, John Price, was fired following an 0-31 season.

CSUB went 8-18 in the Shepardsons' first season, 14-17 in 2012 and 21-12 this past season, including 12-4 in Bakersfield's inaugural Western Athletic Conference season. The Roadrunners reached the WAC Tournament finals, one match from an NCAA Tournament berth, but lost to WAC power New Mexico State.

Jolene Shepardson replaces Oscar Crespo, San Jose State's coach the past seven seasons, who announced his retirement on Dec. 13. His teams went 70-138, including 8-23 last season.

Shepardson said she will have her first meeting with her new team on Monday. She said she plans on hiring her husband as the Spartans' associate head coach but that won't be official until all university required procedures have been completed.

"My plan is to take him with me," she said with a laugh.

"We're going into a situation that's similar," Jolene said, comparing SJSU with her first season at CSUB. "We're looking forward to bringing in similar-type of kids we did here: good character, able to work hard and play for us."

Jolene described CSUB's program as "getting better and better each season."

"It was a gradual process," she said. "We had some great young ladies and were shooting for the stars, wanting to be in that championship against next year."

Bryan Carvalho, who was an assistant coach at CSUB last season, will oversee the indoor team until CSUB's director of volleyball is hired.

Olivia Simko, a former assistant at Cal Poly and ex-player at UC Santa Barbara who played two seasons professionally, will be the interim sand volleyball coach, athletic director Jeff Konya announced Thursday.

Konya said Friday CSUB could have Shepardson's successor announced in the next 3-4 weeks.

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