University of Alaska Anchorage volleyball coach Chris Green resigned Monday after a 27-3 season in which the Seawolves won the Great Northwest Athletic Conference crown.
“I would like to thank our fans and boosters for their support,” Green said in a short statement from the school. “Thanks to all the players who dedicated themselves to this program year after year. And I would like to acknowledge my assistant coaches who were integral in building this program.”
Green was the most successful coach in program history, coaching 15 seasons with a winning record in every campaign. The 2022 team equaled the 2015 edition of the Seawolves for the second-best overall record in program history.
But the successful season wasn’t without consternation.
After winning the GNAC and holding the top ranking in the West Region, the Seawolves were in line to host the West Region of the NCAA Division II tournament. But the tournament had a conflict with the Great Alaska Shootout basketball tournament, with both scheduled last weekend. The NCAA requires uniform start times for regionals in national tournaments, and hosting the volleyball tournament would require shifting start times for the Shootout.
Director of Athletics Ryan Swartwood told Alaska’s News Source that with the tickets already in public circulation and marketing resources devoted to the basketball tournament, moving the Shootout was not feasible.
The university said it attempted to put forward its best possible hosting proposal, but its bid was not accepted by the NCAA and No. 2 seed Western Washington hosted the regional. The Seawolves’ season ended Thursday in a first-round upset at the hands of Chaminade.
“I was very honestly very disappointed in how the West Region and not hosting the West Region was handled,” Green said in an interview.
“It wasn’t a one-item decision,” Green added. “But you can maybe use the old cliche that might have been the straw (that broke the camel’s back).”
When asked if there was a falling out with Green over the scheduling of the tournament, Swartwood declined to comment but offered a statement.
“We thank Chris for his 15 years of service at UAA and just wish him the very best in his future endeavors,” Swartwood said.
Green was six-time GNAC Coach of the Year (2009, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2019, 2022) and three-time West Region Coach of the Year (2009, 2015, 2016). Green’s teams made 11 national tournament appearances, finishing as high as runner-up in 2016. Green posted a 313-116 (.731) record with the Seawolves. Before his arrival the team had only two winning seasons.
Green came to UAA from the junior college ranks. His teams had four straight NJCAA Final 4 appearances and the 2007 national title at Western Nebraska Community College.
The 2022 team was ranked as high as No. 4 nationally and produced a pair of all-West Region players, senior setter Ellen Floyd and Palmer’s Eve Stephens, who was named West Region Player of the Year.
“It was a great year,” Green said. “I think this team really met their potential and so I’m just very excited that we were able to win a GNAC championship.”
Green also said he was disappointed with how events played out once he gave his resignation to the university. He said he was told he would have 24 hours to notify recruits before the decision was made public, but he said that time frame was not followed.
But Green said despite the bad taste in his mouth at the end, his career at UAA was positive.
“I am so thankful for previous administrations, previous athletic directors who have given me the opportunity to thrive and succeed and be successful because you know, that is what it takes,” he said. “It takes all that support that is unseen by the public. And that support is so very important.”
He called the UAA fans the best in Division II. Earlier this month, the team broke a DII single-game attendance mark.
The school announced assistant coach Stacey Meisner would be interim coach.
“I really hope she is able to step in and become the head coach because she will do a wonderful job,” Green said.
Green said he hopes his Seawolves programs were able to provide role models within the volleyball community.
“I think we provide -- and you know, we hope this will continue to happen -- we provide young women to look up to for the young girls, young volleyball players that are here in Anchorage and I think that’s very important,” he said.
Green says he takes as a point of pride the fact that some players have come to UAA and stayed in Alaska to continue their careers and families.
“I hope that what we’ve accomplished is secondary to what you know what the players have learned,” he said. “Under our program, we try to produce graduates, players that go on and graduate and go on and start careers.”