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Wright named interim head coach

Abbie Wright will be Fresno State's ninth head women's volleyball coach after Jonathan Winder decided to return to coach his alma mater at Pepperdine.

FRESNO, Calif. – Jonathan Winder, who tallied 56 wins in his four seasons at Fresno State, has resigned as the head coach of the Bulldogs' volleyball program to return to his alma mater to be the head men's volleyball coach at Pepperdine.

After being named the eighth head coach in program history on Jan. 23, 2018, Winder's 56 wins in his four seasons on the sidelines for the Bulldogs ranks as the second-most victories in a head coach's first four seasons in program history -- trailing only Lindy Vivas who won 74 matches from 1991-94.

Taking over as the interim head coach for the 2022 season will be associate head coach Abbie Wright, who joined the program in February after spending five seasons as the head coach at Seattle Pacific.  Wright assumes head coach duties immediately, becoming the ninth head coach in the program's history.

"I'm humbled and grateful to have been considered and be able to move into this role and lead such a quality group of people," Wright said. "I want to thank Terry (Tumey) and Carrie (Coll) for entrusting me with the opportunity to lead this program, and to Jonathan for having the confidence in me to bring me in this spring, and even as he leaves to have his mentorship and be in his circle now. I'm excited about what he built with a great staff and look forward to working with such a special group. We have a high caliber of athletes and people returning and joining, who care deeply about representing the Valley with high character – and our focus is on keeping the momentum going."

While leading SPU to 65 wins in her time in the Pacific Northwest, Wright led the Falcons to a 15-10 mark in 2021 and helped sophomore middle blocker Hannah Hair become Seattle Pacific's first All-American since 2011 and sixth All-American in program history.

Prior to her time in Seattle, Wright spent the previous four seasons as an assistant coach at her alma mater Biola from 2013-16. A setter in her playing days at Biola, Wright still owns program records for most matches played (143), most sets played (508), and service aces (182).

With the opportunity to return to his alma mater, Winder is grateful for his time leading the Bulldogs, "Thank you to Fresno State for giving me the opportunity to lead and build their volleyball program," Winder said. "It has been an honor to bring pride and success to the program on and off the court. I am so grateful for the young women who have trusted in our vision and believed in themselves. It has been such a joy to work with the student-athletes and athletic support staff on the campus over the last four years. Fresno will always be another hometown for our family and I hope to continue to help develop the sport in the community for many years to come."

With six newcomers set to join the fold this fall with four from the high school ranks and a pair of transfers from Division I programs along with the experience of nine returners, the 'Dogs are loaded for a breakout season this fall.

The 'Dogs will bring back an experienced group that will feature a pair of seniors in Lauren Sabbatini & Molly Eppright along with juniors Grace Doyle and Kasey Purry as well as five sophomores who all saw action as freshmen.