ROB BROWNING | Head Coach
Rob Browning enters his 13th season as the head women's volleyball coach at Saint Mary's in the fall of 2017.
Browning has led the Gaels to sustained success throughout a decade that has seen Saint Mary's volleyball grow both on and off the court. In addition to his duties as head indoor coach, he established beach volleyball as SMC's 17th intercollegiate sport in 2013. Browning now oversees both programs.
Over the past two years under Browning's guidance, Saint Mary's has received four WCC Player-of-the-Year honors in beach volleyball. In 2016 Saint Mary's swept the awards with Dalas Dodd as WCC Player of the Year, Mary Hernandez as Defensive Player of the Year, and Lindsey Knudsen as Freshman of the Year, and Knudsen again being honored as the 2017 WCC Defensive Player of the Year. Saint Mary's has had 10 All WCC award winners in beach the past two years.
In indoor volleyball, the 2013 Gaels finished 18-9 overall and 13-5 in West Coast Conference play, one of the best teams during Browning's tenure and in Saint Mary's history. That year, Browning helped Jordan Shaw, Kristina Graven and Dalas Dodd earn All-WCC honors. Shaw became the first Gaels volleyball player to earn All-Pacific North regional honors from the American Volleyball Coaches Association since the organization began naming regional teams in 1995. Both Shaw and Graven were AVCA All-American honorable mention selections. One year earlier, the 2012 Gaels earned an NCAA Tournament at-large berth and advanced to the second round after defeating San Diego State in a thrilling comeback victory at USC's Galen Center.
In addition to four NCAA tournament appearances (2012, '09, '08, '05), Browning led the 2009 Gaels to the program's first-ever WCC Championship. Saint Mary’s dominated the WCC, leading the conference in every statistical category. SMC was tops in hitting percentage (.296), opponents hitting percentage (.174), assists per set (13.77), digs per set (15.55), kills per set (14.72), blocks per set (2.76), and service aces per set (1.40).
Browning was hired as the eighth head women's volleyball coach in the program's 28-year history on March 23, 2005. His teams have become known not only as quality competitors on the court but also well known for their abilities in the classroom. Saint Mary's volleyball routinely ranks among the athletic department's best in terms of team GPA and the 2012-13, 2013-14 and 2016-17 teams earned the AVCA Team Academic award.
He was an assistant coach for the USA Men's National Team for six years prior to joining Saint Mary's. He has been to four Olympic Games with the USA men's team: 2000 in Sydney, 2004 in Athens, 2008 in Beijing (where the team won the gold medal), and 2012 in London. He coached the USA Women’s Junior National Team to the NORCECA Championship in 2010 and to a 4th place finish at the Junior World Championships in Peru in 2011. Browning worked closely with the USA Women's National team between the London Olympics and the 2016 Rio Games.
Prior to assisting the men's national team, Browning served as a volunteer assistant on the BYU men's volleyball team for three years, culminating in BYU's first NCAA National Championship in 1999.
A native of Newport Beach, Calif., Browning earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Spanish Translation with a Minor in International Relations from BYU in 1990. He played volleyball at BYU from 1987 to 1989. Browning graduated from Corona del Mar High School in Newport Beach, where he lettered in volleyball for two years and was named a 1984 Orange County All-Star.
Browning has been married to Michelle Perez since July, 1989. They have two children, Madison and John.
MANDY BIBLE | Assistant Coach
Already known as one of the greatest players in Saint Mary's volleyball history, Mandy Bible returned to McKeon Pavilion in 2015 for her first season as an assistant under head coach Rob Browning. Mandy enters her 3rd season as an assistant coach for the Gaels in 2017-18.
A three-time all-West Coast Conference honoree, Bible graduated from Saint Mary's in 2007 as one of the most accomplished players in the history of the program. She went on to play professionally in Europe, and after recently hanging up her court shoes to pursue other endeavors, Bible now returns to her alma mater to begin her Division I coaching career.
"Returning to Saint Mary's puts a smile on my face every time I think about it," Bible said. "I was so lucky to attend and compete for such an amazing school and I am thrilled to have another opportunity to represent the Gael family. I have so much respect for Rob and all of his past coaching staffs, it is a great honor to know the company I am among and I look forward to continuing the strong tradition of Saint Mary's volleyball."
From 2009 to 2015, Bible continued her playing career in several parts of Europe. She began her career as a member of the OK Luka Koper Volleyball Club in Slovenia, winning a bronze medal in the 2010-11 season. In 2011, she signed with ASKO Linz Steg Volleyball Club and competed in the CEV Cup, Middle European League and Austrian League. She helped the club finished second in the Austrian League both seasons, and advanced to the CEV Cup quarterfinals during the 2012-13 season. After taking 2013-14 off, Bible re-signed with OK Luka Koper and earned an award for best setter in Slovenia while helping the club reach the finals of the Slovenian Cup. While overseas, she also caught the coaching bug, helping to coach mini and juniors volleyball in Europe.
Bible made her mark at Saint Mary's as a setter, but she did a lot more than simply set up plays. She ended career as a Gael first in total assists with 5,362, first in assists per game with 12.47, first in service aces (128), first in service attempts (1980), second in block assists (400) and ninth in digs (939).
She also made a mark away from the court, earning a spot on the WCC All-Academic team as a senior. That type of well-rounded resume will fit in well with the Gaels, who have been known throughout Browning's tenure as a team that does just as well in the classroom as on the court. Bible also spent time assisting in the Saint Mary's athletic department and served in a variety of roles.
"There are always a handful of people you have over the years who embody everything you want in a student-athlete; Mandy is one of them for me," Browning said. "She was the heart of the teams that experienced tremendous success at Saint Mary's, but she is also so much more than that. Mandy is an outstanding role model for the young women in our volleyball family. She lives a balanced life, had a remarkable professional career, has overcome great adversity, and excelled academically."
JORGE PEÑATE | Volunteer Assistant
Jorge Peñate enters his first year as a volunteer assistant for the Saint Mary's women's volleyball team in the 2017-18 season. In 2015-16, Peñate was active with the USA Volleyball National High Performance department. He was a part of the coaching staff for several National Training Programs. His coaching techniques have led various age groups from the Developmental Skills level to High Performance Championships. His 2015 Select Continental team finished with a record of 8-1 at the HPCs in Des Moines, Iowa. Peñate also serves as a head coach for several Bay Area club volleyball teams. He is currently in his third season with Red Rock Club Volleyball in Redwood City, as his showcase team finished as the best 18U Northern California team and earned a bid to GJNC in the National Division, finishing 17th out of 48 teams. In 2016, his showcase team was named the fourth-best 16U team in Northern California. In 2016, Peñate coached at local Bay Area high schools such as Bishop O'Dowd, Berkeley High School, and Miramonte High School. At Bishop O'Dowd he served as a varsity head coach and a director of the volleyball program. He led Bishop O'Dowd to an overall record of 55-19, adding back-to-back undefeated WACC league championships. Prior to Bishop O'Dowd, Peñate also coached at Berkeley High as a head coach and led his team to place second in the WACC league standings. From both programs, eight members continued to play at the collegiate level. Also in 2016, Peñate served as a co-head coach at The Branson School -- a program which has won five CIF state championships and eight North Coast Section championships. Peñate is originally from Los Angeles. He attended UC Berkeley and majored in Entrepreneurship and Technology. Outside of coaching, Peñate is playing beach volleyball, trail running, or cheering on his favorite sports teams.