WNCC Canales names new head volleyball coach
     2014-07-10      By The Gering Citizen   
Courtesy photo - Binny Canales 
SCOTTSBLUFF — Western Nebraska Community College’s search for a volleyball coach is over after Binny Canales was named the Cougars’ head coach on Thursday.

Canales comes to WNCC from Laredo Community College, where he served as head coach for 13 years. Canales also coached at Texas A&M International and Louisiana Tech University.

Canales is excited to be coming to WNCC.

“It is exciting to be there and I am looking forward to the challenge,” Canales said. “I know they have a strong tradition and I can’t say tradition enough with athletics at Western Nebraska. We are ready to get started and to get going and get everything in order.”

Canales has a 473-223 overall record. He served as Laredo’s coach in two different stints, from 1998-2001 and then from 2006 through last year. Last season at Laredo, the Palominos went 24-8, including beating nationally-ranked Blinn College twice.

“That [to continue to win] is our game plan,” he said. “We want to hit the ground running. We are used to playing tough competition. We have Blinn that was No. 1, Tyler No. 2, and San Jac is in the top 20, along with Paris and Panola. There is just a plethora of Top 20 programs in our region and we are ready to hit the challenge at Western Nebraska.”

Canales is no stranger to WNCC. Back in 2009, his Laredo squad faced the Cougars in a tournament in Sterling, Colo. WNCC won in three games 25-12, 25-23, 25-18. He said he remembers that team because they had the Kabalis sisters (Kalei and Kuulei) on it.

As an experienced coach at the collegiate level, Canales is known for his strong recruiting. His roster last year at Laredo included players from Brazil, Poland, Hawaii, Michigan and Texas.

“We have connections both domestically and internationally and I have a lot of friends at different
schools,” he said. “I have feelers out all over the place and I am hopeful to see if we can bring in another player or two for this year. We are going to start recruiting for both the 2014 and the 2015 season.”

Canales’ volleyball knowledge is intense. During his initial tenure at LCC, he made impressive strides to help the Lady Palominos achieve back-to-back 30-win seasons in 2000 and 2001. In his final season with the two-year LCC volleyball program, the Lady Palominos finished 31-4 in 2001, ranking second in the region and ninth in the nation in the final NJCAA Division I rankings. The Laredo Morning Times honored Canales as the Coach of the Year after the 2001 season.

Canales then went on to start the volleyball program at Texas A&M International, where he led the team to a 92-35 record during the program’s first four years. Among his accomplishments at TAMIU were a Red River Athletic Conference West Division title in 2002 and a NAIA Region VI tournament berth in 2003-2005.

He then returned back to Laredo and helped the Palominos finish as the regional runner-up in the conference in 2007, 2008, 2010, and 2011.

In addition to his experience at LCC and TAMIU, Canales has served as head coach in several collegiate volleyball divisions, including the NCAA Division I, NCAA Division II and NAIA levels. Canales launched his coaching career with one-year stints at Hardin-Simmons in 1988 and Louisiana Tech in 1989. After going 35-7 at Hardin-Simmons, he posted a 21-19 record in his lone season in Louisiana, guiding the Lady Techsters to a fourth-place finish in the American South Conference while earning “Coach of the Year” honors from the Louisiana Sports Writers Association. After his season at Tech, Canales moved on to the University of Texas at El Paso, where he served as an assistant for two seasons.

Canales is hoping to bring that kind of success he has endured in his coaching to western Nebraska and continue the rich tradition of the volleyball program alive. Canales will inherit a good foundation to his first season as six players return along with three new faces. Canales said he is learning about the new players, but isn’t worried because he knows how strong of recruiters the previous coaches were.

“I am still learning about them [the current players] and I know the previous coaches have done a wonderful job of recruiting and I am expecting a very talented group when I get there,” he said. “We are stlll looking to see if there are any available players that we may be able to pick up late. We are optimistic for this season.”

Canales inherits a good foundation for his first season at WNCC. Six players return from last year’s team that was ranked No. 1 in the nation during the regular season, and captured another Region IX championship and national tournament berth. Three new recruits are also signed. Canales said he is learning about his new players, but he’s not worried because he is well aware of the top-notch kind of players WNCC features from year to year.

WNCC’s returning players include Amanda Schoene, Kayla Martin, Leticia Silva, Kylie Fa’amoe, Cassandra Hernandez, and Rachael McCracken. McCracken was named Region IX’s Libero of the Year last season as a freshman.

Three incoming freshmen on the roster are Leyton High School graduate Katy Ernest, along with Fabiana Andrade and Karina Martin of Brazil.

The one tournament he is looking forward to next year is when the Cougars go to Tyler, Texas, Oct. 3-4, where he will get to face some of the teams he competed against.

“I have a lot of friends here and we all get along,” he said. “It will be great to see them and compete against them again. I am looking forward to that tournament. They are very well coached teams. I have a lot of respect for them. We are hoping to go down there and show well.”

Canales’ first day at WNCC is July 21 and he is already planning the move with family. He has three kids, one going to college in California, an 11-year-old son, and a 3-year-old daughter.

“I am ready to go. I am already doing things to make sure everything is in order for our move and already talking to people for possible players. My family is ready for the change and I have heard nothing but great things about Scottsbluff and Gering and the area.”

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