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Mueller on the open market

A 30-7 season, a Conference USA championship, a second round NCAA Tournament berth and coaching an All-American all amount to a successful season for USF volleyball coach Nancy Mueller.

The accomplishments also qualify Mueller as a coaching candidate for schools looking to fill vacancies at the helm of their programs.

Mueller was recently interviewed for the head coaching position at Purdue, a Big Ten team that had the No. 11 recruiting class in the country.

“We are all fortunate to have a good job, and we love what we do,” Mueller said. “It’s very flattering to be pursued by a program like Purdue. They are in the Big Ten. It’s a whole different playing field than C-USA. They have 10 teams go to the NCAA Tournament every year.”

Mueller was beaten out for the job by Dave Shondell of Muncie (Ind.) Central High.

If the Bulls continue to make positive strides like they did during the 2002 season and Mueller’s 94-40 overall record in four seasons at USF continues to improve, then many more opportunities will arrive for her and her staff.

Mueller has been voted C-USA Coach of the Year in 2000 and 2002 and been to two NCAA Tournaments.

“It was very flattering,” Mueller said. “It speaks volumes of what we were able to do at USF. Nothing beats winning.”

After the Boilermakers fired Jeff Hulsmeyer, they went on a nationwide search consisting of more than 60 candidates, narrowing the field down to Mueller, Randy Litchfield of Ball State and Shondell.

Shondell was hired as the Boilermakers’ fourth coach in the school’s history.

Purdue first requested permission from USF before interviewing Mueller for its coaching vacancy.

There are several ways for coaches to switch jobs and change their coaching location.

They either are called in for an interview or apply for a job. Sometimes they learn about it by word-of-mouth or see a job online and apply for it.

“It depends on the success of the coach (and if) the coach is ready for the next level,” Mueller said. “You can see it online and apply for the job. A lot of universities will call different successful programs with established coaches and say, ‘Who would you recommend?'”

The individual decides whether to inquire about the job due to different factors such as the program, her or his relationship to the program or location.

Mueller showed interest in the Purdue job because of its closeness to family.

A factor that coaches have to deal with when deciding to take another job or not is the players, and the bonds that have been made with them, both throughout the years and through the recruiting process.

“There is nothing that they can do about it because it is part of the profession,” Mueller said. “It’s business. It’s very difficult on the players and difficult on the coach.”

Contact Bryan Fazio at