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Beach Volleyball

RJ Abella
RJ  Abella

Assistant Coach/Recruiting Coordinator



Gamecocks Open Practice for 2015 Season

Gamecocks Open Practice for 2015 Season


South Carolina vs. ULM - 3/23/14

South Carolina vs. ULM - 3/23/14


South Carolina vs. North Florida & Jacksonville - 3/8/14

South Carolina vs. North Florida & Jacksonville - 3/8/14

RJ Abella enters his fourth season as assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for the Gamecocks. In his short time with the program, he has brought in a wealth of talent that has helped South Carolina develop into a program on the fast-track to success.

In 2016, the team won a program-record 20 matches and finished the season ranked 20th in the DiG Magazine postseason poll. They also tallied the program's first-ever win against a top-10-ranked team, after beating No. 10 Florida International at the CCSA tournament. Abella scored a win off the sand in 2016, when he signed AVCA Beach Volleyball Honorable Mention All Americans and AAU champions Carly Schnieder and Katie Smith.

Abella came to Carolina in the spring of 2013 as assistant coach for both the indoor and sand volleyball programs and made the transition to full-time beach volleyball assistant in the spring of 2015. He was named to the American Volleyball Coaches Association's "30 Under 30" list in 2014, recognizing 30 rising coaching stars at all levels of volleyball who are under 30 years old.

During the 2015 season, Abella helped guide Carolina to a 14-7 record, which is nearly triple the win total of the program's inaugural season, and a No. 17 ranking in the final DiG Magazine Poll. South Carolina's pairs combined for an 83-58 overall record, including a 65-40 mark in dual play, and Abella's recruit Julia Mannisto, one of the inaugural four AVCA High School Beach Volleyball All Americans from 2014, stepped right in to the No. 1 pair role.

Prior to coming to Columbia, he spent the previous six years helping Missouri Valley power Wichita State to its best NCAA volleyball finish in history with a regional semifinal appearance in 2012.

Abella coached three AVCA All-Americans and nine All-MVC student-athletes during his time as an assistant coach at Wichita State. The Shockers were ranked as high as ninth in 2008 in the AVCA poll and made six-straight NCAA Tournaments, culminating in the regional semifinal appearance in 2012. Abella also assisted in every area of the Shockers' program, breaking down video and helping with scouting, communicating with academics, athletic training and strength and conditioning staffs and working with recruiting.

Getting his start in coaching as an assistant with the Newman (Kan.) women's team, Abella started as a manager at Wichita State before working his way into a full-time role on Chris Lamb's staff.

Abella has also coached on the national circuit, helping the USA A2 National Team to a second-place finish in the 2009 USA Open Championships. Abella served as a head coach and the club director with the ICT Elite Volleyball Club in Wichita.

A former player, Abella served as a team captain for the Newman men's volleyball team during his three years and helped lead the squad to the national tournament during his playing years. Abella earned Male Student-Athlete of the Year honors as a junior. He also served as the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee president.

He transferred across town to Wichita State to complete his bachelor's degree in communication with a minor in psychology in 2009. He has put his communications degree to work recently, taking on the role of color commentator for the Gamecocks' SEC Network + coverage during the indoor season.

Abella's Coaching Timeline
2013-Present - Assistant coach, South Carolina
2009-12 - Assistant coach, Wichita State
2009-11 - Head coach/club director, ICT Elite Volleyball Club
2009 - Assistant coach, USA A2 National Team
2007 - Assistant coach, Newman University
2008 - Technical manager, Wichita State

Abella's Playing Timeline
2005-07 - Newman University

Abella's Education Timeline
2009, B.A., Communications, Wichita State

RJ Abella

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