June 7, 2013
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) - Sixth-year coach Gokhan Yilmaz of the Florida State indoor volleyball team has been promoted to associate head coach following the unprecedented success the program has attained during his tenure.
Combined with the coaching of head coach Chris Poole and fellow associate head coach Holly Watts, Yilmaz has helped the Seminoles to three Atlantic Coast Conference titles, one NCAA National Semifinal, one NCAA Regional Final and two NCAA second-round appearances in his first five seasons as an assistant coach.
The elevation in coaching title stems from Yilmaz's success as the team's day-to-day training coordinator and instructor. The Turkish-born coach has also been able to recruit high-level talent to Tallahassee since arriving in 2009, highlighted by Florida State's top-notch 2012 recruiting class that boasted four student-athletes ranked in the Top 53 of the Prepvolleyball.com senior rankings.
"I first met Gokhan in 2000 and helped bring him to the United States for his first position," Poole said. "When we had an opening at Arkansas in 2007 he was the one I wanted. I am very fortunate that I was able to bring both assistants to Florida State. Gokhan has been a big part of our success. He has proven himself as a great trainer and recruiter."
Prior to Arkansas, Yilmaz was at Northwood, where he helped the Timberwolves to a regional semifinal in 2005 with a 23-11 overall record. Yilmaz got his coaching start in the United States as an assistant at Cameron University from 2003 to 2004 and at Western New Mexico from 2002 to 2003.
Before coming to the United States, Yilmaz also worked for various club programs in Istanbul, Turkey, as well as with the Turkish National Team.
Yilmaz's day-to-day responsibilities will continue to include a myriad of tasks - he will serve as the fall and spring team practice coordinator, head opponent scouting and provide video analysis, schedule practice times on the road and at home and other administrative duties assigned.
"I am very thankful for this opportunity," Yilmaz said. "I'm very proud of what we have been able to accomplish in our first five years at Florida State. I think the combination of an experienced coaching staff and our highly-skilled student-athletes has helped take this program to new heights in recent years. We have become a program built on great expectations and I look forward to seeing what other goals we can reach moving forward."
From a training standpoint, Yilmaz will keep working with the team's setters, outside hitters and liberos. Combining those positions, Yilmaz has helped four student-athletes earn American Volleyball Coaches Association All-America honors as well as five earn all-region and All-ACC accolades while at Florida State.
"I appreciate the administration's willingness to give Gokhan his promotion as associate head coach," Poole added. "Gokhan and Holly will split duties and continue to help our volleyball program emerge on a national level. Very few volleyball staffs in the country will have the experience that we continue to provide for our program. I'm excited about our future and we will continue to work hard and represent FSU in a first class manner."
Under the tutelage of all three coaches, Florida State has won three ACC titles in the last four seasons. The Seminoles' consecutive conference crowns in 2011 and 2012 are the first time an ACC school has repeated since Maryland in 2003 and 2004.
The Seminoles have gone 36-4 against the ACC over the last two seasons, and have held their own against some of the nation's best non-conference competition. Florida State defeated five AVCA Top 25 opponents in 2012 and finished 5-2 against nationally-ranked competition.