UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS (WCIA) — Illinois Volleyball is mourning after former head coach Mike Hebert died after his battle with Parkinson’s disease Monday.
He coached at the U of I from 1983 to 1995 and left a legacy still felt in the community today. People involved in the program say it is hard to forget him when his fingerprints are still all over the program.
Hebert was at the helm of Illinois’ only four conference championships and he brought them to number one in the country for the first time. His assistant coach for two of those championships still hangs around Huff Hall, but as a teacher.
“Mike gave his life to the sport of volleyball in so many ways,” says Don Hardin. “It was his identity to move the sport forward.”
Hardin came back to take over for Hebert when he moved on to Minnesota. The two were each other’s best man at their weddings. Hardin called him a mentor and big brother. He says he has never met someone who has made a bigger impression than Hebert.
“We have so much impact on other people’s lives and when I look at his impact, and the domino effect of so many other lives,” says Hardin. “It just boggles my mind that one person has that kind of legacy.”
Hebert had a PhD in Political Science. Hardin says his degree helped him make the right decisions to grow college volleyball into what it is now.
He started coaching at Pittsburgh before moving on to New Mexico and then Illinois. He moved back to San Diego after retiring from Minnesota in 2010. He is currently 11th on the all-time coaching list with 892 career wins.
The university has not announced how they will honor Hebert yet. Their next game at Huff Hall is this Saturday when they welcome Ohio State.