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Volleyball coach James Finley to retire

December 6, 2019

Volleyball head coach James Finley

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In his seven years with the Redhawk helm, Finley led the program to seven consecutive Western Athletic Conference Tournament appearances.

Seattle University volleyball head coach James Finley has announced his retirement after seven seasons leading the Redhawks program and 21 total years of collegiate coaching.

“I am thankful to have been a part of such a great university focused on educating the whole person, and particularly to have contributed to its growth as a Division I athletic program,” said Finley. “I am also thankful for the mentorship so generously offered by Father Steve Sundborg and Director of Athletics Shaney Fink."

Finley was named the program’s second head coach in its Division I era in February 2013, following an eight-year term at Virginia Commonwealth. While at the Redhawk helm, he led the program to seven consecutive Western Athletic Conference Tournament appearances, and amassed 93 wins, second-most in program-history.

The Texas-born coach was also responsible for some of the program’s best players as he worked with three-time All-WAC selection Martina Samadan, two-time WAC Setter of the Year Shae Harris, 2015 WAC Newcomer of the Year Jelena Vujcin as well as WAC Freshmen of the Year Iris Ivanis and Katarina Marinkovic.

“I am grateful to James for his commitment to the mission and values of Seattle U and to each of the student-athletes he has coached," said Director of Athletics Shaney Fink. "He has been a wonderful colleague and we wish him the best as he enters the next stage of his career."

In his first three seasons, Finley led Seattle U to consecutive winning records in conference play and helped the Redhawks advance to the WAC Tournament semifinal in 2013. The next year, Finley steered the program to a fourth-place finish in the regular-season standings before orchestrating a thrilling run to the title match with victories over Utah Valley and regular-season champion Kansas City. Then, in 2015, the Redhawks notched their best season as a Division I program finishing 18-11 overall and third in league play at 9-5. 

During his seven seasons, Finley saw his teams post several top five single-season marks in the Redhawks’ record book including, most aces in 2015 (202), second-most blocks (289.0) in 2014, most digs in 2018 (1,670) and finished the 2019 campaign with the second-most kills (1,429) and digs (1,619).

Finley’s collegiate coaching career spanned 21 seasons, including 19 as a head coach with prior stops at Arizona Western College and VCU. He spent 15 seasons plying his craft in the NCAA Division I ranks, posting 244 career victories in 477 games.

Seattle U has begun a nationwide search for the program’s next head coach.

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