On Wednesday, University of Portland announced Jeff Baxter, an assistant with the Pilots volleyball team for the past two years and head coach of the beach volleyball team, as the new head volleyball coach of the Portland Pilots.
Baxter’s hiring comes after Brent Crouch, the former head coach for the Pilots, left for the same position at the University of Southern California.
Baxter joined the staff in 2016, the same year that the Pilots had unprecedented success as a team. The Pilots garnered a variety of achievements that year, including finishing by being tied for third place in the West Coast Conference as well as wins for the first time against ranked opponents, beating the San Diego Toreros and the Brigham Young University Cougars when they were ranked seventh and 11th in the nation respectively.
Baxter, prior to coming to UP, had spent three years as the men’s assistant coach at Cal State Northridge, his alma mater, and one year as an assistant coach at Loyola Marymount. Cal State Northridge was ranked in the top 15 every year he coached, and LMU made the NCAA Sweet 16 in his lone season. He has also worked with USA Women’s Volleyball in various capacities.
“Jeff is ready for this opportunity,” Athletic Director Scott Leykam said in a press release on Wednesday. “He checked all of the boxes as we went through this coaching search and will continue the progress that the program has made in recent years…Jeff has helped build the foundation of our program and now he gets to shape the next era of UP volleyball. The team and entire Athletic Department are excited for Jeff and the volleyball program.”
“I want to thank Scott Leykam and Karen Peters for the opportunity to remain at UP,” Baxter said in the release. “I am thrilled to be continuing my career here on The Bluff…I look forward to the future of Portland volleyball and continuing to improve upon the past successes of our program.”