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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.-Aaron Smith has been named an assistant coach with the Virginia volleyball program, head coach Dennis Hohenshelt announced Wednesday (April 11). Smith will work primarily with the Cavalier middle blockers and right-side hitters.

Smith joins assistant coach Stevie Mussie on Hohenshelt’s staff. Hohenshelt was hired as UVa’s head coach in January.

Smith, who played for Hohenshelt on the Penn State men’s team from 2004-06, was an assistant coach at Northwestern for the past three seasons (2009-11). He also served as the Wildcats’ video coordinator and worked with camps, clinics and recruiting.

“I’m really excited to have Aaron in Charlottesville,” Hohenshelt said. “When you talk about young, great assistant coaches, he’s going to be near or at the top of the list, along with Stevie. I recruited him as a high school junior, so I’ve known him a long time and trust him with anything in this program. He knows how I want to train, he can explain to the girls what I’m thinking and he understands how I think better than most people because he’s been around it for four years.”

The Wildcats reached the NCAA Tournament Round of 32 in 2010, only the second time in school history, and had their best start in 14 years in 2011, winning five straight matches to open the season.

Smith, a native of Forest, Va., also served as the Director of Coaches of the Wildcat Juniors Volleyball Club and as a coach of the WJVC’s 15 Elite team that earned 13th place at the 2011 AAU National Championships.

“It is an honor to be back in my home state and to coach at such a prestigious school,” Smith said. “Dennis and Stevie have set a great foundation the last few weeks. We have a great group of young women, and I look forward to getting in the gym as we grow the program together.”

Prior to his stint at Northwestern, Smith served as an assistant at Wake Forest, where the Demon Deacons went 19-13 in 2008.

Smith played one year of professional volleyball in Tarragona, Spain, competing for Club Tarragona St. Pere y St. Pau in Spain’s 1st Division. He started at outside hitter, helping lead the team to maintain its 1st Division status after posting a winning season in 2007-08.

At Penn State, Smith served as team captain in 2007. He currently ranks 14th all-time in Nittany Lion single-season history in both digs (499) and aces (58) while also registering 166 kills as a senior.

Smith, a former Virginia High School Player of the Year at Monacan, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in landscape contracting management from Penn State in 2007. He married the former Natalie Mullikin in May of 2011.

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