PRINCESS ANNE, Md. - Former University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) head women's volleyball coach Toby Rens is now the new head women's volleyball coach at UMES, Director of Athletics Keith Davidson announced today. Rens, returns to the Hawks, a program he left in 2004, to once again rebuild the program.
"Toby [Rens] is the coach we know," said Davidson, who served as the Assistant Director for Athletics for Compliance during Rens' final year at UMES. "He is a hard worker, a student of the game and more importantly a high character individual. He knows what it takes to win here and we are thrilled to have him back."
The architect of the success experienced by UMES Volleyball over the past decade can really be credited to Rens, who inherited a program who had not won in over two years. In 2001 he won just three matches but quickly turned the program around. In 2002 he went 20-15 and one season later, in 2003, his last with the Hawks, the program set a school record 26-12 mark until it was broken in 2012 with 28 wins. The 2001 to 2002 season marked the best single season turnaround in the NCAA. He won Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Coach of the Year in 2002.
"This is a terrific opportunity and I am honored to lead the program to the next level. This will be an exciting and thrilling journey as we prepare for a successful future," said Rens. He again inherits a struggling team, having won just three matches in 2013, but making the NCAA Tournament the previous two years under former coach Don Metil.
Rens has been busy since his time away from UMES. He left the Hawks after three years to coach Long Island University-Brooklyn for four years, winning the Northeast Conference (NEC) and taking them to the NCAA tournament each season. He went 106-46 during that time, a near 70% winning percentage, averaging 26.5 wins each year. Rens was NEC Coach of the Year in 2005. His teams there earned the AVCA Academic Award three times (2007-08, 2006-07 and 2004-05) and regularly boasted one of the highest team grade-point averages at LIU, twice taking top honors. Two of his student-athletes were named to the 2007 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District Team.
He left the Blackbirds for the University of Pittsburg, where he stayed for five seasons and in 2009 won a program record 12 conference wins in the highly competitive Big East. He took them to a school record five consecutive Big East Tournament appearances. While with the Panthers, he coached three All-Americans, five All-Region selections, 11 All-Conference nods and a Big East Player of the Year and Libero of the Year. His team had the highest GPA in the department two of his five years at Pitt.
Last season he was at Chicago State, where he inherited a program that had won just five matches in the previous five seasons, garnering a pair of wins with just seven primary players. That was his 15th season as an NCAA women's head coach and he carries an overall record of 300-219, a winning percentage of almost 58% for his career.
"When I got the call from Mr. Davidson asking me to return to Maryland Eastern Shore the choice was easy and the offer too good to turn down. In a business that is all about relationships UMES has some of the finest people around," Rens said. He has been highly active in national volleyball circles, serving as a member of the NCAA Division I Head Coaches Committee and as a voter in the USA Today Top 25 Coaches Poll.
"The University of Maryland Eastern Shore has always been a special place for me. The beautiful campus, the administration, fellow coaches and the surrounding community are what make the Eastern Shore feel like home," Rens concluded.