Paul Leon, head coach, just completed his second season at the helm of the Slug program.
Under Leon’s direction, the Banana Slugs have an 2016-2017 overall record of 32-12 (.737 pct.). UCSC finished 2017 ranked ninth in the nation after spending four weeks at top three in the polls. The Slugs ranked among the nation’s top 15 in aces/set, blocks/set, hitting percentage and top 5 in set assists. Junior Lake Merchen earned first-team AVCA All-America honors and senior captain Jake Howard was selected as second-team AVCA All-America honors for the Slugs.
Prior to his appointment at UC Santa Cruz, Leon was involved with UCSC’s program for 5 years as a student-athlete, volunteer coach and assistant coach. Paul lettered two seasons as a setter and led the Slugs to a CVC conference championship, and a NCAA bid in the spring of 2012. Paul also managed to become first-team All CVC, UCSC team MVP and second-team AVCA All-American during his play. As a team captain senior in ’12, he started 19 matches as the Slugs rolled to a 17-7 record and lost in the semi-finals to Carthage College for the Division III title. In the semi-final against the Red Men, Leon delivered 51 assists with 13 digs. In his two-year UCSC career, Leon delivered 906 assists, 5th highest in program history. Paul has been a part of three NCAA men’s volleyball tournament teams (2012-player; 2013-asst. coach; 2015-asst. coach). After earning his undergraduate degree in Marine Biology from UCSC in 2013, Leon worked at the Monterey Bay Aquarium — before being elevated to a full-time position in the fall of 2016. Paul served two seasons (2013-2014) as a volunteer coach and 2015 as the assistant coach.
Before transferring to UCSC, Paul played junior college ball for the Orange Coast College Pirates in Costa Mesa, Ca (2008-2010). While a Pirate, Paul captained his 2010 team to the C.C.C. state finals while earning the honors of second team Calif. All-State and OCC’s “Male Student-Athlete-of-the-Year”. Leon also led a successful club career winning bronze medals in Open Division 16&U and 18&U Junior Olympics with Orange Coast Volleyball Club (2006) and Balboa Bay Volleyball Club (2008).