Nabil Mardini is considered one of the finest volleyball minds in the region, if not the country. As Head Coach of the Pierce Women’s Volleyball Program, Nabil saw his 2010 squad win the CCCAA California State Championship for the first time in school history, with the added bonus of his being named AVCA 2010 National Two-Year College Coach of the Year. As current Club Director of LAVA Girls as well as Co-Director of SMBC Boys, he has extensive knowledge of the operational and training aspects of the club volleyball world. His network of contacts is extensive, owing largely to his reputation as one of the most ethical and upstanding personalities in the coaching world today. All this, in addition to time spent training professionally as a young player himself in his home country of Lebanon, not to mention an advanced degree in Electrical Engineering. Nabil handles much of the day-to-day operational side of LAVA, including content for coaches, correspondence with players and parents, and scheduling, in addition to myriad other duties. He also coaches the top team for the Los Angeles Volleyball Academy, the North 18-1’s.
Nabil’s playing career spans the globe: he competed internationally with the Lebanese National Team and professionally with regional power Club Relevement Social Knat before coming to the United States, where he earned All-Conference and All-State honors at Santa Monica College, including recognition as the school’s 1996 “Athlete of the Year.” He moved into coaching shortly after the completion of his playing days and swiftly made a mark for himself, earning a Gold Medal in 1997 at the Junior National Championships as a coach with the Santa Monica Beach Club Boys program—while in the same year earning his Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles. Nabil continued to coach for both the SMBC Boys and Girls programs until the year 2000, when a series of events changed the course of his life and brought coaching volleyball firmly to the forefront: he gained exclusive ownership of SMBC Boys, was named Club Director of SMBC Girls, and was hired as the Head Coach for the Women’s Volleyball Team at Pierce College—and under his tenure, all three organizations flourished.
Nabil revitalized a flagging program at Pierce College and, in his first two seasons, took the Lady Brahmas from last place in the Western State Conference to its first Conference Title in more than twenty years. In ’04-’05, he led his program to its first Elite Eight appearance in the school’s history and a #5 ranking in the State of California. His ’06 squad posted an impressive 27-5 won-loss record, winning the Western State Conference for the sixth straight year and soaring all the way to the finals of the State Championship, while his ’08 team finished its season with a 32-2 overall record, a Conference Title, and nine consecutive weeks ranked as the State’s #1 team. Prior to 2010, Nabil had collected an impressive 277 wins to 50 losses (82% winning percentage) and been named the Western State Conference (South) Coach of the Year in ’02, ’04, ’06, ’07, ’08, ’10 and ’11. It was the 2010 Pierce team, however, that took the Lady Brahmas to their greatest and most glorious heights: a 29-3 overall record, yet another Western State Conference Title, and the capture of the first California State Championship in school history—cementing the ’10 squad’s legacy as one of the most successful teams ever, in any sport, for Pierce College. Nabil, too, was honored for these tremendous accomplishments, winning the All-Southern California 2010 Coach of the Year, All-Southern California 2011 Co-Coach of the Year, All-Southern California 2012 Coach of the Year, the AVCA 2010 Two-Year College Southwest Regional Coach of the Year, and the AVCA 2010 Two Year College National Coach of the Year, receiving the last at a ceremony held annually in Kansas City before an audience of his peers.
In 2011, Nabil led his squad to another milestone as his squad, not only captured the program’s second State Championship in a row, but became the fifth college in the history of the game (NCAA D1, D2, NAIA, etc.) to go undefeated with a record of 33W-0L. Nabil, once again, was honored with the All-Southern California 2011 Co-Coach of the Year.
It is worth noting that in the past twelve years, the program is winner of ELEVEN Western State Conference Championships, an Elite Eight Appearance in 2004, a Final Four Appearance in 2005, a State Runner Up in 2006, and two-time State Champions in 2010 and 2011.
Nabil is also credited as one of the driving forces behind the rise of the Santa Monica Beach Club as a regional and national club volleyball powerhouse. Under his leadership as Club Director for both the Boys and Girls Programs, several hundred SMBC athletes, male and female, went on to play collegiate volleyball, the vast majority on scholarship of some kind. Nabil revamped and revolutionized the SMBC training systems, worked tirelessly to secure and train one of the finest coaching staffs in the region, and was responsible for the institution of swing blocking, up-tempo offensive systems, and other emerging volleyball concepts at top age levels. As Head Coach of the SMBC Girls 18-1’s team for nearly a decade, his teams were consistently competitive in the SCVA region, finishing as high as fourth in overall points in 2006, in national travel tournaments like Junior National Qualifiers and the Las Vegas Classic, and at the Volleyball Festival, where he led the squad to four consecutive Top Four finishes, including a trip to the 18’s Division finals in 2011. As Co-Director of SMBC Boys, Nabil has helped guide the club to eleven medals at the Junior National Championships in the past seven years, including a pair of Open-level silver medals at the 2011 event in Minneapolis.
With all that said, however, Nabil is perhaps best known within the volleyball community for his excellent reputation for honest and ethical dealings. His network of loyal contacts is extensive, owing largely to his upstanding personality and outstanding character, and a great many of those contacts, for this very reason, joined him as he launched the Los Angeles Volleyball Academy (LAVA), an affiliation of junior club volleyball organizations in Southern California. Subscribing to the notion of Volleyball Done Differently, LAVA strives to do differently, to do better, in every single aspect of its enterprise—a philosophy by which Nabil himself has been living for some time, and worked to impart upon all those working with him.
One of LAVA’s four principal members, Nabil oversees and handles much of the day-to-day operational side of the organization as Director of Operations, including content for coaches, correspondence with players and parents, and scheduling, in addition to myriad other duties. He is also the Club Director for LAVA Girls, the flagship girls volleyball club for LAVA and one the biggest clubs in the country, as well as head coach of that club’s top team, the South 18-1’s.