Widely regarded as one of the top assistant coaches in the nation, Nick Cheronis enters his 18th season at the University of Florida as associate head coach, having helped head coach Mary Wise build the program into a national power.
It’s certainly no coincidence that in each and every season since his arrival, the Gators have consistently fielded a team that not only dominates the Southeastern Conference, but contends for a national title on a yearly basis.
Cheronis’ primary responsibilities include serving as defensive coordinator, heading up the team’s opponent scouting and working with the squad’s middle blockers.
Statistics show that Cheronis certainly knows his opponents well, as the Gators sport an incredible record of 543-56 and a winning percentage of .907 since his arrival in
Gainesville in 1992.
Cheronis in 2008 helped a young Florida squad capture its 18th consecutive SEC title, which set a new NCAA record for most consecutive league championships. He was responsible for the development of freshman middle blocker Cassandra Anderson, who became the first UF freshman to lead her team in blocks since Benavia Jenkins did so in 2000. Anderson averaged 1.01 blocks per set, making her just the seventh freshman in school history to average more than 1.0 blocks per set and the first since 2006.
Cheronis also mentored senior Kelsey Bowers, who battled nagging back injuries her senior year to finish her career ranked sixth all-time in school history in career blocks with 426. Bowers, the 2008 SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year, became just the seventh player in school history to surpass the 400-block plateau.
In 2006, Cheronis coordinated the team’s switch to a swing-blocking scheme that resulted in Florida finishing 10th in the nation in blocks per game (3.39). Despite UF’s prowess at the net, the Gators also managed to break the school record in digs per game in the same campaign at 18.79. Florida dominated the SEC statistically that year, as the Gators led the conference in blocks per game, digs per game and opponent hitting percentage (.148).
UF again limited opponents to an SEC-best .148 efficiency rating in 2007, while also posting a blocks per game average of 3.05 that was among the 25 best marks in the nation.
“It’s a privilege for me to be a part of such a successful program,” Cheronis says. “The most exciting part is the commitment to excellence in every phase of the program. Every area of volleyball, from facilities to support staff, is supported to ensure we have the best chance to be successful.
“That makes the University of Florida a great place to coach.”
During his time at Florida, Cheronis has helped the team to seven NCAA Final Four appearances and 16 trips to NCAA regional competition.
His commitment to the sport of volleyball extends far beyond the Gators’ program, however. Cheronis played an integral role in developing the Gainesville Juniors Volleyball Club, which he established in 1994, and coaches at Florida’s annual summer camps.
Cheronis has written articles that have appeared in “Coaching Volleyball” magazine, and he penned an article titled “Best of Coaching Volleyball” that appeared in the book “The Basics of the Game.” Cheronis is active in holding coaching clinics around the South and has lectured for the Florida Athletic Coaches Association and the Alabama High School Coaches Association.
Cheronis also lends a wealth of international coaching expertise to Florida’s volleyball program. In July of 2007, he was the head coach of Team Florida’s juniors squad that competed in the World Global Challenge in Pula, Croatia. In June of 2006, he served as head coach of the USA Selects team that battled several of the top teams in Argentina, including five matches against the National Team. He also guided the Youth High Performance team for the Florida Region that competed in the USAV High Performance Championships. Previously, in the summer of 2005, he was the head coach of the USA Junior High Performance Florida Region team.
Cheronis coached the USA 20-and-under Junior National team in the summer of 1998 at a tournament in Italy. A year earlier, he was appointed the head coach for the USA Youth National Team. The squad, which was comprised of high school players from all over the country, trained for two weeks at the USA Olympic Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., to prepare for international competition. Cheronis’ involvement with that team was highlighted by an eight-match exhibition with the Brazilian Junior National Team held in Brazil. In 1994, Cheronis was the assistant coach for the USA Youth National Team that finished fifth at the NORCECA Junior Championships in Mexico.
Before joining the Gators’ program in 1992, Cheronis served as an assistant coach at Southwest Missouri State University (now Missouri State) for three years under Linda Dollar. His coaching duties included serving strategies, practice strategies, scouting and academic monitoring.
The team went 63-31 during his tenure, highlighted by a trip to the NCAA Championship in 1990. Cheronis helped MSU earn one Gateway Conference regular season championship and one Gateway Conference tournament title. He also was involved in several other phases of the volleyball operation at MSU, including home match management and marketing and promotions. Cheronis earned a master’s degree in public administration while coaching.
Cheronis’ other coaching stops include serving as a graduate assistant coach at Northern Michigan University (1988), an assistant at Eastern Illinois University (1987), the assistant head coach at Parkland Junior College (1985-1987) and the assistant/interim head coach for Valparaiso University (1982-1985).
A native of Noblesville, Ind., Cheronis played 10 years of USVBA open volleyball after graduating from Ball State University in 1980. While working toward a bachelor’s of science degree in business administration, Cheronis was a three-year member of the school’s volleyball team.
Cheronis married the former Lori Creamer on Jan. 14, 2001. The couple resides in Gainesville with their son, Billy (14) and daughter, Riley (4).
Cheronis At A Glance
Hometown: Noblesville, Ind.
- B.S. Business Administration, Ball State University, 1980
- Assistant/Interim Head Coach, Valparaiso University, 1982-85
- Assistant Head Coach, Parkland Jr. College, 1985-87
- Assistant Coach, Eastern Illinois, 1987
- Graduate Assistant Coach, Northern Michigan, 1988
- Assistant Coach, Missouri State, 1989-91
- Assistant Coach, University of Florida, 1992-95
- Associate Head Coach, University of Florida, 1996-Present
Children: Billy (14), Riley (4)