Texas A&M University-Commerce announces<BR>hiring of new head volleyball coach

Commerce – Texas A&M University-Commerce announced Monday the hiring of Mark Pryor as the new head volleyball coach.

"I am excited about the opportunity here at Texas A&M Commerce. There is a lot of work to be done, but it seems that the infrastructure from previous head coach Gwen Weatherford is in place for this program to be competitive within the Lone Star Conference and in this region," said Pryor. "This is a great opportunity for my family and I."

"We are very excited to have Mark Pryor join our Lion athletic family. He brings a wealth of volleyball knowledge to our program and his relationships in the volleyball community will keep us focused on the vision of becoming a national leader in college athletics," said athletic director Carlton Cooper.

"In choosing a coach to lead the volleyball program to the next level, we wanted a person who is committed to our athletic department mission, has a strong work ethic, believes in community engagement, and has a solid coaching background," said associate athletic director for academic affairs/SWA Judy Sackfield. "We are thrilled to have Mark Pryor join the Lion athletic family."

Pryor comes to A&M-Commerce with an impressive background that includes being a head coach at Louisiana Monroe and Southwest Baptist as well as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Boise State. In addition, he has experience as the head coach of the Dallas Premier Volleyball Club and an assistant with the USA Volleyball High Performance Program and New Mexico State University.

While at Louisiana Monroe, he built a .500 program where they established 11 school records, posted their first non-losing season in 16 years and recorded double-digit victories for the first time in 14 years. Pryor was named the 2005 Southland Conference Coach of the Year and recruited the 2005 and 2006 Louisiana Sports Writers Association Newcomer of the Year.

At Boise State, Pryor played an integral role in the improvement of the program on the court and his recruiting efforts brought in two all-Western Athletic Conference selections as well as the first-ever Volleyball Magazine Fab 50 recruit. On the court, Boise State went from last in the WAC to fourth within a two-year span.

At Southwest Baptist, he revitalized a program that experienced a 10-win improvement and was ranked 12th in the nation in blocks per game. At the Bolivar, Missouri based institution; he was involved in the entire development of the program, including recruiting, training, fund raising, budget implementation, public relations, and marketing.

Pryor is a 1995 graduate of Baylor University, where he played on the men's club volleyball team before entering the coaching ranks. In 1998, he received his master's degree in public relations/communications from Louisiana-Monroe.

What Others Are Saying About Mark Pryor:
"Mark has extensive experience in all phases of coaching and will be a great fit at Texas A&M-Commerce. He will be successful due to his unmatched work ethic, keen eye for talent and ability to develop that talent in the gym." - Tennessee head coach Rob Patrick

"Texas A&M University-Commerce did an outstanding job in getting Mark Pryor, who is one of the top recruiters and top young coaches in America. He is very experienced at recruiting and developing players. He will help the players at A&M-Commerce in a big way on and off the court." -Baylor head coach Jim Barnes