The Charlotte 49ers announce the appointment of Gokhan Yilmaz as the volleyball program’s 11th head coach for the 2014 season. The former Turkish Junior National Team coach joins Charlotte after six years as the Associate Head Coach and Training Coordinator with Florida State University, which captured three Atlantic Coast Conference titles in the past five seasons, advancing to the National semifinals in 2011.
“When we announced that we had an opening for the head coach for our volleyball program, we were so pleased with the amount of interest from a national perspective,” said Charlotte Director of Athletics Judy Rose. “We had so many very qualified candidates! After a thorough search we could not be happier with the selection of Gokhan to take over in this key leadership role. We are convinced that with his track record and experience that he will not only be a great coach but also a great recruiter!”
In addition to the 2011 National Semifinal appearance, the Seminoles achieved a pair of NCAA national quarterfinal appearances and three times advanced to the round of 16 in the NCAA Volleyball during his time there. As the lead recruiter at FSU, the Seminoles’ turned in the number-three recruiting class in the nation in 2012, and the program had a 151-41 overall record and an 11-5 NCAA Tournament record during the last six years with him on the staff. In his years as the training coach, he cultivated 13 All-Americans, five league Players of the Year, one league Freshman of the Year and 24 All-Conference performers.
“I would like to thank Chancellor Dubois, Judy Rose and Kim Whitestone for believing in me and giving me a chance to coach at Charlotte,” said Yilmaz. “I would also like to thank my fiancé for supporting me all for the way and the administration of Florida State and head coach Chris Poole for my time in Tallahassee. I am very excited to get started in Charlotte.”
Previous to FSU, Yilmaz had sandwiched two stints as an assistant at Arkansas around a coaching stop as an assistant at Northwood University in Florida, which reached the NAIA Regional semifinals in 2005. He had previous collegiate coaching experience as an assistant at Division II programs Cameron University and Western New Mexico.
Prior to his years of collegiate experience in the U.S., Yilmaz coached volleyball at five institutions in his native Turkey, as well as serving as the head coach of the Junior National Champions. While the head coach of Uskudar Cmh High, his Youth Boys team captured the National Championship in 2002, with his high school team capturing the City Championship and finishing as National Runners-Up. Both his Youth and High School teams at Besiktas were National Finalists in 2001. He coached National Champions with the Youth team in 2000 and the Middle School team at Galatasaray in 1998. He started coaching on the professional level in Turkey in 1999, helping his team to the quarterfinals in the playoffs in 2000 as the second assistant.
In addition to the National Turkish program, he has worked with national team coaches of Cuba, Russia, and Bulgaria, staffs that work on both national and Olympic levels. He was the guest coach on the Turkish Junior National Team in Alanya, Turkey, which was the World Runner-Up in the World Championships in 2009. In 2012, he was among a group of coaches facilitating a coaching clinic with the Turkish Volleyball Federation as part of that country's coaches education program.
Yilmaz got his start coaching in 1995 after his final playing year with Besiktas, which followed four seasons playing with the Eczacibasi Sports Club.
He earned his Bachelor’s in Eastern European Studies in 2002 from Istanbul University, adding a Master’s in Sports Psychology from Cameron University in 2005.
Charlotte will compete in its second season as a return member of Conference USA this fall.