Pedro Mendes will begin his first season with Minnesota volleyball in 2022. He comes to Minnesota after serving as the head coach at Hylte/Halmstad Volley (Sweden) where he led the team to its first national and cup championship ever in 2021. The team repeated as champions in 2022.
“I am really excited to join the Gophers,” Mendes said. “The University of Minnesota has a very knowledgeable coaching staff led by one of the most respected coaches in the world, Hugh McCutcheon. I can’t wait to get started on the court, exchange ideas with the coaching staff and help the program reach its goals.”
Over his two seasons as the head coach in Sweden, Mendes played a key role in recruiting young players and helping them reach their goals on and off the court. These included being called to the Swedish National Team and finding more lucrative professional contracts abroad. He also helped two players win league MVP honors while seven others were picked to the dream (all-league) team.
During the 2021-22 season, Mendes led his team to the national record for best set average with 93 sets won and just six sets lost over 31 straight match wins. In two seasons, their official match record was 70-2, the best-ever stretch in club history.
“We’re excited to have Pedro join our program,” said coach McCutcheon. “He brings a ton of coaching and playing experience as well as a genuine passion for the game. We feel fortunate to have him with us.”
Prior to Hylte/Halmstad Volley, Mendes worked as an assistant coach with Eczasibasi Vitra Istanbul (Turkey), one of the top women’s volleyball clubs in the world. He assisted in practices under the direction of the head coach, Marco Motta. He ran one-on-one player practices, participated in game plan discussions and delved into team statistics and analytics.
Mendes started his volleyball playing career when he was 10 years old and played until his last professional season at the age of 30.
Born and raised in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Mendes went to college at UniFunvic in Sao Paulo.
“Although my volleyball background is Brazilian and European, I have always admired the discipline of the players and coaches and the organization of U.S. collegiate programs. With that being said, I am hoping to better understand how the system is put together and how coaches develop athletes into better players and human beings,” Mendes said.
The Gophers begin their 2022 season against Baylor on Aug. 26.
(info courtesy of Gopher Sports)