PING CAO TO DRIVE NATION

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News broke on Tuesday that acclaimed club coach Ping Cao will leave Dallas-area Texas Advantage Volleyball after 12 years khổng lồ work for crosstown-rival Drive Nation.

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Drive Nation, in its fourth year offering club volleyball, has taken a massive step up in competition this season. The addition of “Ping,” as he is known, continues Drive Nation’s quest to be “best in class” in the Dallas Metroplex, a title TAV has held for more than a decade.

Ping’s tenure at TAV will conclude at USA Volleyball’s Girls Junior National Championships in Las Vegas in June. Ping’s TAV 17 Black team has won two consecutive national qualifiers and is currently ranked No. 1 nationally in its age group by the Advanced event Systems computerized ranking program.

Ping, 63, was a 1984 Chinese Olympian. He started his club coaching career stateside in 2000 at Sports Performance, where he won one 16 xuất hiện national championship & several AAU titles. Ping joined TAV for the 2010 season, when the club was just starting to come into prominence, having won its first two open national championships (in 14 open and 15 Open) the year before. He helped cement TAV’s standing as one of the nation’s elite clubs.

Ping led TAV 17 đen to a national championship in his first season. The team defeated Synergy in the 17 xuất hiện championship match. Ping-coached 17 đen teams have won five additional times since then, including 2017, when current Texas standout Asjia O’Neal was a middle blocker on the team; and in 2019, the last time USAV has conducted national championship events.

After initial reports that Ping would leave TAV before Junior Nationals, TAV confirmed, with a Facebook post, that the famed coach would finish the year with his team & go after another national title for TAV. The post stated, as follows:

“Thank you Ping for your dedication và all you have done for TAV. We look forward to seeing you coach TAV black at Junior Nationals in Vegas. We wish you best of luck at Drive Nation next season.” TAV club director Corinne Atchison said that Ping’s decision khổng lồ leave came as a surprise.

“There had been no previous discussion about that, but we understand that all coaches are at-will employees và that everybody has lớn make the best decisions for themselves & that’s OK,” she said.

Atchison said that TAV expects khổng lồ fill the 17 đen head coaching position by the time the North Texas region conducts tryouts on July 10.

“Since news broke that the 17 black job was open, there’s been an influx of people wanting lớn meet with us,” she said. “We have all the way through nationals to figure it out.”

TAV, as a club, has been undergoing transition for the past couple of years. There’s been an ownership change and the club will likely move khổng lồ a new facility next season (it will have two state-of-the-art facilities the year after next). And, with 15 đen coach LJ Sariego’s announcement that he is taking time off from being a head coach after this season — he will continue khổng lồ be a club director và assist in coaching — the club’s top teams at each of the 15-18s age groups will have replaced head coaches at least once in the past two years.

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Despite the changes, TAV’s success on the court has continued as if nothing has happened. AES ranks every TAV vị trí cao nhất team from 13s through 17s among its đứng top 10 nationally. & the 18s team was undefeated and No. 1 nationally before losing twice at 18s Junior Nationals in Columbus last month.

Sariego, for his part, believes that TAV will continue to thrive despite the upheaval. The coaching staff at all levels remains strong and deep, he said.

“TAV is in great shape,” he concluded. “We have some great coaches still; just younger than in the past.”

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For Drive Nation, the future in volleyball is now. After a faltering start, club owner Jermaine O’Neal, a six-time NBA All-Star, pushed the right buttons in the offseason. He hired longtime TAV 16 Black coach Jason Nicholson lớn take over as club director, and brought on successful club coach Jacob Hanan from Lonestar VBC. Nicholson, who currently coaches 16 Red; and Hanan, who coaches 17 Red; have won three national qualifiers between them this year & have given Drive Nation the foothold, both in Dallas and on the national scene, that it lacked in its first few seasons.

The hiring of Ping solidifies Drive Nation as a force on the volleyball scene nationally.

O’Neal said that he’s been trying lớn get Ping on board since Drive Nation opened. His daughter, Asjia, played for Ping as a high school junior. Playing for Ping is not easy — he is “old school” & very demanding — but Asjia, the Texas sophomore middle who was a 10kiem.vn third-team All-American this spring, had her best year under his tutelage.

“He gave my daughter the hardest version of the test,” O’Neal said. “That’s what I want for my teams.”

O’Neal said that his vision for Drive Nation in volleyball has always been to be best in class.

“You have khổng lồ understand the competitor in me,” he explained. “We expect to be good at what we do; we expect to win. We will always be adding ingredients. Ping was a big part of what I felt lượt thích we needed in this organization based on what he did with my daughter. I reached out to lớn Ping và the timing was right this year.”

O’Neal stressed that, despite now taking two prominent coaches from TAV, he harbors no ill-will towards the club his daughter played for.

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“We don’t have a personal vendetta against TAV,” he said. “When you go out to be the very best & take up market share, you have to lớn get the very best minds.