Navarro College Volleyball Coach Headed to Lamar University
Posted on January 05, 2024
Navarro College’s head Volleyball Coach, Ariel Apolinario, has been named as head Volleyball coach at Lamar University. Apolinario, a King University graduate, served as an assistant at UNLV, Rice, Ohio, Austin Peay and Union Universities before he took his first collegiate head coaching job after Navarro’s 2019 unbeaten national championship season. He inherited a 2020 preseason No. 1 ranked program and kept it among NJCAA Division I’s elite.
“We are excited for Ariel and the next step in his coaching career. He deserves this new opportunity because of the work he has put into our volleyball program and the successes they have earned. Ariel will be difficult to replace in the athletic department and at Navarro, as his invaluable contributions have left a lasting mark.” Executive Director of Student Services and Athletics Michael Landers said.
During his tenure, Navarro ranked among the NJCAA Division I Top 20 in 33 of a possible 44 polling periods. His Bulldogs were Top-10 ranked in 22 of those polls.
The 2023 Region XIV Coach of The Year guided the Bulldogs to a four-year record of 99-38, with 61 wins in their last 73 matches spanning two seasons. His Navarro squads qualified for the 2020 and 2023 NJCAA National Tournaments at Hutchinson, KS.
Apolinario’s powerful team last autumn won its first 15 matches and achieved No.2 ranking on its way to a 34-4 record, sweeps in 26 matches, and a third-place national tournament finish as a No. 7 seed. Pre-tournament, the Bulldogs ranked among NJCAA Top 12 in nine statistical categories, and Top 30 in six others.
Apolinario coached 22 All-Conference players and two All-Americas chosen by the NJCAA and American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) -- outside hitters Nataly Garcia in 2020 and Hanna Tylska in 2022 and 2023.
The Bulldogs wish Apolinario the best in his new role and will begin a nationwide search for a successor.