Higa spent three seasons as an assistant at Mississippi State.
Courtesy: CBU
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Higa Named Women's Volleyball Coach
Courtesy: CBU  
Release: 02/20/2012
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RIVERSIDE, Calif. --- California Baptist University Director of Athletics Dr. Micah Parker has announced the hiring of Branden Higa as the Lancers' new women's volleyball head coach.

Higa comes to CBU after three years as an assistant at NCAA Division I Mississippi State.

"We are excited to have Branden become a part of the Lancer athletic family," said Parker. "First and foremost, Branden is a good fit for our university. I also believe he has a clear understanding of what it will take to become a national factor in NCAA Division II volleyball."

While at Mississippi State, he helped the Bulldogs to an improved record each year and finished third in the SEC West this past season. Higa coached the blockers and hitters for the Bulldogs, including All-SEC honoree Ashley Newsome, as well as heading up opponent scouting and assisting with recruiting for the program.

Originally from Lancaster, Calif., Higa joined the MSU staff in 2009 after having served in 2008 as head volleyball coach at West Los Angeles College in Culver City, Calif. Higa also had a two-year stint as an assistant at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles and a season (2005) as an assistant at Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tenn.

While at LMU, the Lions posted a 35-25 record, placing one player on the AVCA All-Region team and five players on the All-West Coast Conference team and two more on the WCC All-Freshman squad.

Prior to his time in the collegiate ranks Higa spent time coaching throughout the Southern California club system with the South Bay Volleyball Club in Torrance, the Santa Monica Beach Club in Sherman Oaks and the Santa Clarita Athletic Club. Higa also worked with the Kevin Barnett Pro Performance Camp in Norfolk, Neb., and the Nina Matthies Volleyball Camp at his alma mater, Pepperdine.

In 2008 Higa served as an assistant coach with USA Beach Volleyball in Los Angeles, the organization that selects and trains athletes for the Youth Junior National Teams.

Higa played collegiately for three seasons at Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., where he earned a double major in international studies and public relations in 1998. He was a member of coach Marv Dunphy's nationally-ranked volleyball program from 1995 to 1997. His team finished third in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation in both 1996 and 1997 and concluded the 1997 season with a No. 6 national ranking.

For seven years after his graduation at Pepperdine, Higa served his alma mater as coordinator of international programs and later as assistant director of the Office of International Student Services.

Prior to his time in Malibu, Higa won the 1994 California Junior College Most Outstanding Player award at Pierce College.

"I want to thank Dr. Ellis, Kent Dacus and Dr. Parker for giving me this incredible opportunity," said Higa. "I am so excited to be a part of a university that is committed to developing their students not only academically and socially but spiritually as well. CBU has a rich tradition in athletics and in the sport of volleyball. It is an honor to be a part of that legacy, and I look forward to leading our volleyball program into a new era of excellence on the Division II level."

Higa and his wife Tori have a son, Kainoa James-Paul, age 4, and daughter, Maile Rose, born in August 2010.

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