With 19 seasons of head coaching experience at the college level and six NCAA appearances under his belt, Toby Rens is ready to bring his expertise to the Hilltop. On Jan. 15, Rens began as the head coach of the Georgetown women’s volleyball team following the resignation of former head coach Arlisa Williams in November — just one day after the conclusion of the 2017 volleyball season.

Before arriving at Georgetown, Rens had served as the head coach at Northern Michigan, Maryland Eastern Shore, LIU-Brooklyn, Pittsburgh and Chicago State.  In 2005, while at LIU-Brooklyn, he was named Northeast Conference Coach of the Year. While at UMES in 2002, and most recently during his second tenure with the Hawks in 2017, Rens was named the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Coach of the Year.

Georgetown Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Lee Reed expressed his optimism about bringing Rens to campus.

“We are very excited to bring someone with Toby’s experience and leadership to the Hilltop,” Reed said. “He is a proven winner and we look forward to the direction he will lead our program.”

Rens leaves UMES with not only his impressive Coach of the Year title but also many noteworthy stats that speak to his capacity to lead the Hoyas to a successful 2018 season. He boasts a 378-266 career record and, in his final season at Maryland Eastern Shore he led the team to a 27-9 overall record, including an undefeated 12-0 record in conference play.

This season, Maryland Eastern Shore appeared in the National Volleyball Invitational Championship while leading the NCAA in aces per set. The team ranked in the top-25 in both opponent hitting percentage and team hitting percentage and ranked 38th in winning percentage.

Rens hopes to continue his winning ways on the Hilltop.

“I am extremely grateful and feel very honored to be selected as the next head volleyball coach at Georgetown University,” Rens said. “I would like to thank President DeGioia, Erik Smulson, Lee Reed and Sharon Brummell for this opportunity.”

Rens also praised Georgetown’s volleyball program, as well as the university as a whole.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to become part of the Hoya family, fulfill a long-time wish of returning to my favorite city and coaching on the Hilltop,” Rens said. “I am truly blessed to be back in the Big East while representing the Hoyas because Georgetown offers one of the very best educations in the country.”

Rens previously spent time as a Big East competitor when he coached at Pittsburgh, a former member of the conference, from 2008 to 2012. Rens inherited a losing team, but transformed the program to five Big East Tournament appearances and coached them to four winning seasons in his five years there.

Having worked as an assistant coach at George Washington from 1994 to 1998, Rens is familiar with the allure of the nation’s capital and hopes to bring local talent to Georgetown to keep McDonough Arena vibrant with fans.

“The Washington, D.C., Metro area also has some of the very best high school and club volleyball talent in the country,” Rens said. “I am going to recruit the most talented student-athletes in the nation while trying to keep more local talent at home playing in front of family and friends.”

In terms of recruiting, Rens readily acknowledges he is inheriting Williams’s team by joining the Hoya family.

“My predecessor was extremely professional and she built a good foundation while bringing in some very talented student-athletes,” Rens said. “I’m extremely excited to start working with the talent that we already have in the gym while recruiting future Hoyas.”

The 2017 team graduates only one senior, setter and right-side hitter Meghan Richard, as well as graduate student middle-blocker Aima Eichie. Besides these losses, the Hoyas will return the rest of their roster for the 2018 season. Fortunately, Rens will be able to rely on strong leadership from a trio of star rising seniors made up of setter Paige McKnight, outside hitter Alyssa Sinnette, and middle blocker Symone Speech. Speech was selected to All-Big East First team and named AVCA All-Region after the 2017 season.

Rens will look to lift Georgetown from the 8-22 regular record, 2-16 Big East record team it was in 2017 and transform it into a winning program next year.

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