Volleyball Assistant Moves On to JMU Job
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas volleyball volunteer assistant coach Wendel Camargo will continue his career at James Madison University (JMU) as an assistant coach, both programs announced the news on Thursday.
Camargo spent the 2012 and 2013 seasons in the Jayhawks’ volunteer coaching position, working primarily with the liberos and defensive specialists. In his two seasons at Kansas, the Jayhawks had over 1,900 digs in each season and averaged 15.9 digs per set. He also assisted with in-office recruiting tasks and Data Volley entry while serving as the coordinator for the Jayhawk Juniors.
“This is a great opportunity for me to move on and my KU volleyball family has been so supportive of me in this move and over these past two years,” Camargo said. “I have enjoyed my time here very much and working with our players has been great for me – I’ve learned so much from them. Now it’s time to move on and I can’t wait to get started with JMU.”
In 2013, KU finished the season ranked No. 17 in the final AVCA poll and was the No. 14 overall seed for the NCAA Tournament. The Jayhawks advanced to the Sweet 16 and finished the year with a 25-8 record. Under Camargo’s guidance, KU libero Brianne Riley became the first Jayhawk to break the 2,000-career dig mark, which landed her fourth all-time in the Big 12 record books and tops in KU history with 2,053 digs.
A unique and determined assistant, Camargo learned English while also adapting to coaching Division I volleyball in America – and excelled at both.
“He came over here (from the Dominican Republic) with a lot of volleyball knowledge but zero English,” Kansas head coach Ray Bechard said. “He made the commitment to learn a language that would allow him to ascend through the coaching ranks. There has never been a question of his technical knowledge or how he can share that with not only our student-athletes, but also younger kids through the Jayhawk Juniors program. He connects with people, he cares for people and he, obviously, has a strong grasp of all skills and how to present them in a way that people can get better. We’re really proud of him.”
In both of his seasons at KU, Camargo celebrated Big 12 Coach of the Year awards with head coach Ray Bechard. Bechard thanked Camargo and fellow assistants Laura “Bird” Kuhn and Todd Chamberlain, giving his staff equal credit for the first coach of the year award for Kansas in the Big 12 era in 2012 and they went on to win the award again in 2013.
Prior to relocating to the United States, Camargo was a member of the coaching staff for Dominican Republic National Team-Santo Domingo from 2009-12. Camargo worked with the adult and junior national women’s teams, including the 2012 FIVB (Federation of International Volleyball)/NORCECA Olympic Qualifiers. At the conclusion of his first season, Camargo helped coach the national team to a 2010 FIVB Women’s Volleyball World Championship, the 2010 FIVB/NORCECA Final Four Women’s Volleyball Cup and a first-place finish at the 2010 FIVB/NORCECA World Championship Qualifiers. The following season, Camargo helped the team place second at the 2011 FIVB Junior Pan American Cup.
Before he earned a spot leading the Dominican Republic National Team, Camargo coached in his home country of Brazil, including a stint in 2009 as the head coach at University of Sao Paulo.
Given all of his experiences around the world, however, Camargo still had a heartfelt goodbye to his friends and family in Lawrence.
“Kansas is special,” Camargo said. “It’s a family and everyone cares about everyone. Because of that, I always felt welcome and it was easy to work hard since we’re all working toward the same goal. I wish to thank not only Coach Bechard and Dr. (Sheahon) Zenger, who gave me this opportunity, but the countless members of the volleyball family that work so hard every day: Laura Kuhn and Todd Chamberlain, who made this job so much more than a job. Aaron Carbuhn and Luke Bradford, who both go above and beyond to make our players strong and conditioned. I can’t thank Aimee Miyazawa enough for being there for me and for taking excellent care of our players. Our managers, especially Skyler Yee, whom I worked closely with, and our student athletic trainers Brian Rios and Joo Lee. Even those away from the court I want to thank since we couldn’t do what we do without them: Mitch Doty, Diane Douglas, Jim Marchiony, Sandy Arbuthnot, Carie Gallagher, Larry Hare, Alissa Bauer, Pam Bechard, of course my own family, and last but not least – our fans, who make this place great and I’ll never forget them . All of these people have shown me so much love and support in my time here. I truly thank you.”
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