|Previous College:||Shanghai Institute, '66|
After spending seven years in retirement, longtime Sacramento State assistant volleyball coach Weidi Zhang (pronounced way-DEE ZONG) returned to the program as a volunteer assistant in 2017.
Zhang, who retired in 2009 after 23 years on the Sacramento State sidelines, never really left the program as he’d been a regular in the stands at Hornet home matches since his retirement. One of the most well liked and respected coaches on campus for years, Zhang was with the team during its trip to China earlier in the summer of 2017.
During the 2017 season, Zhang helped coach the Hornets to a 26-10 overall record and 15-1 mark in the Big Sky, winning the league’s regular season title for the first time since 2007. The team had three winning streaks of at least six games long, including a 10-gamer from Sept. 21-Oct. 21. In addition, the Hornets’ 15-1 conference record tied for the program’s best mark since joining the league in 1996 (the 1998 and 2006 squads also accomplished the feat).
Four members of the 2017 team were named all-conference, including league MVP Kennedy Kurtz, as well as fellow first team all-league selections Shannon Boyle and Mikaela Nocetti, and second team all-league choice Lana Brown. Kurtz became the first Big Sky MVP since 2007, and the Hornets placed three players on the first team for just the second time in program history.
A native of Shanghai, Zhang’s first stint as an assistant coach with the Hornets lasted from 1987-2009. During those 23 years, Sacramento State combined to post a 584-251 record (.699 winning percentage) to go along with 11 conference championships and 14 NCAA Tournament appearances.
A 15-year international coaching veteran with 15 years of playing experience, his varied coaching duties prior to Sacramento State included stints as head coach of both the Shanghai women’s professional team (1985-87) and men’s professional team (1980-83, 1985-87) as well as the Nigerian National Team (1979-80). Additionally, Zhang spent time as an assistant coach with the Chinese National Team (1983-85).
He also coached the Sacramento State men’s club team for 13 seasons (1989-2001). During that time, Zhang led the men’s squad to numerous top 10 finishes and two NIRSA Div. I national titles (1995, 1997). Volta was an All-American setter for the 1995 team that went undefeated and won the national championship.
As a player, Zhang was the starting setter and captain of the Chinese National Team in 1975. He helped lead the squad to a third-place finish at the Asian Volleyball Championship that year. Prior to that, he played competitively with a local team from Shanghai (1966-74) which won the national championship on four occasions.
During the course of his playing career (1961-75), Zhang was the starting setter and team captain for all three teams in which he played (Shanghai Youth Volleyball Team, Shanghai Volleyball Team and the Chinese National Team).
Zhang earned a bachelor’s degree from the Shanghai Institute of Physical Education in 1966. He also taught classes at Sacramento State for 23 years until his retirement in 2009.