Home Local Sports Fernando Morales Named Head Coach Of Puerto Rico National Team
Morales To Lead The Team Over The Summer
After serving as the captain of the Puerto Rico National Team in his days as a player, the University of Evansville head volleyball coach Fernando Morales has been named the head coach of the Puerto Rico Women’s Volleyball National Team.
This appointment will not have any impact on Morales’ work with the Purple Aces as the national team plays most of their games during the summer.
“It is always an athlete’s dream to be able to represent their country and I was able to do it for 10 years. To get the opportunity to do it as a coach is a dream come true,” Morales said. “We have a great group and having the support from the veteran players in the national team is very big for me. We think we can do great things together and we will work hard towards our goals.”
“I want to thank Mark Spencer and Sarah Solinsky for understanding what this means and giving me the green light to follow this dream,” Morales continued. “I have a great staff in Melissa (Rabell) and Jesus (Echevarria), it is going to be a lot of work but very doable with their help.”
Morales will assume the head coaching duties as the team prepares to make a run to the 2024 Olympics. There are two ways for his team to qualify. They will play in the regional qualifier that includes North America, Central America and the Caribbean with the chance to advance to the Olympics. In 2022, his Puerto Rico will take part in the World Championships in the Netherlands, which also provides the opportunity to become one of the 12 teams that will play in the Olympics.
“We are very happy that Fernando accepted the challenge, he is a very talented young coach who knows how to reach his players. We have no doubts that our plan will be implemented to take our team to the highest level, “exclaimed president of the Puerto Rican Volleyball Federation Dr. César Trabanco.
His college coaching career began in 2018 as an assistant at UE before being named the interim head coach in early 2019. After serving in an interim capacity through the first two months of the season, he was elevated to the head coaching position in October of 2019.
The impact Morales had on the UE program was immediate. He led the team to a 16-14 record in 2019 along with a 6th place finish in the Missouri Valley Conference. It was the first winning record for UE since 2010 and the first berth in the conference tournament since 2008. On the individual side – freshman Melanie Feliciano had one of the best debut seasons in the Aces record books. Her 456 kills were the most for an Evansville freshman in program history and she finished in the top three in kill average in the MVC and among all freshmen in the NCAA.
He directed senior Gabriela Macedo to a record-breaking performance on the defensive side of the floor, setting the single-season program mark with 704 digs, second-best in Valley history. She set the single-match mark with 46.
Last year, Morales worked with the Puerto Rico National Team as an assistant coach. The team played in the NORCECA Women’s Qualification Tournament, which also included Canada, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic.
His dedication towards his country spans over a decade. As a player, he was the National Team Captain and took his career to the professional level where he played for 19 seasons, 12 of them coming overseas.