There is no getting around it.
The 2019 volleyball season at Utah State was dismal. The Aggies ended the season more than a week ago with a 12-match losing streak. They went 2-28 on the season and 2-16 in Mountain West play.
Head coach Grayson DuBose has been at the Aggie helm longer than any volleyball coach in program history. He had hoped for at least a 15th season to see how a young and injury-plagued team would respond in 2020.
That will not be the case.
Late Monday afternoon USU Vice President and Director of Athletics John Hartwell made it official. DuBose will not have his contract renewed. The press release said a national search will begin immediately to find the next coach.
“These decisions are never easy, and we thank coach DuBose for his commitment to Aggie volleyball over the past 14 seasons,” said Hartwell in a press release. “However, at this time, we feel that a new direction in leadership needs to be taken to provide our volleyball student-athletes the best experience they can have during their time at Utah State.”
When the season ended on Nov. 23, with a loss to Fresno State, DuBose hinted his time as head coach was probably over. But after 14 years, he also hoped for a bright future for Aggie volleyball.
“God bless these kids because they worked their butts off and did everything we asked of them,” DuBose said after the last match. “I can’t ever fault their work ethic. I’m fortunate to do what I get to do.”
At the final match, there were five players who had started at some point during the season on the bench with season-ending injuries. DuBose never used the injuries as an excuse, but it was apparent the 2019 was frustrating. Some Aggies needed to play out of position at the end due to injuries.
While the Aggies had some long losing streaks, most matches they were competitive in. USU just couldn’t seem to get over the hump and finish sets.
“Having experience matters and allowing that to be fostered and grown is a really huge deal,” DuBose said. “Otherwise, it’s just always young kids every year. We have battled that the last two years and injuries. These kids have been tenacious. When you struggle like we have, the tendency for most teams is to pack it in. To their credit, that is not who they are. It’s been a real pleasure to coach them.”
During DuBose’s 14 years at USU, the Aggies went 189-233 overall and 99-132 in conference play. He led USU to a NCAA Tournament appearance in 2010 when the Aggies won the Western Athletic Conference Tournament. USU won the outright WAC title in 2012. DuBose was a two-time WAC Coach of the Year, winning the award in 2007 and 2012.
USU joined the Mountain West in 2013. The Aggies went 45-83 in that league as the competition level rose.
Under DuBose, 20 USU players earned all-conference honors a total of 31 times. He also coached three players to AVCA All-Region accolades, while two were named All-Americans.
The Aggies saw great success in the classroom under DuBose. USU players earned academic all-conference honors 115 times, while five student-athletes earned CoSIDA Academic All-District accolades seven times. The team earned the AVCA Team Academic Award six times in the last eight years.