Irvine Valley alumnus and assistant women's beach volleyball coach Jeff Strickland was recently named the IVC Athletics Veteran of the Year.
Strickland was also selected to a seven-person Orange Empire Conference Veterans of the Year Team.
Chief Strickland joined Coach Tom Pestolesi's staff as a volunteer assistant volleyball coach in 2011 while working toward an AA at Irvine Valley College. Strickland has been involved with or played beach volleyball throughout his career in the Navy and while growing up on the beaches of Southern California.
The program has seen success at the highest levels since he joined the staff, winning Beach club championships in 2013 and 2014, and CCCAA indoor titles in 2014 and 2017 and the inaugural Beach championship in 2015. Strickland completed his AA Business Administration at IVC in Spring 2013.
Strickland transferred to National University in time for the Fall 2013 term. He graduated with a BA in Business Management in 2015, earning Deans List honors twice.
Strickland enlisted in the Navy in 1983 and transferred to the Fleet Reserve in 2008.
Over a 25-year Naval career, Strickland deployed eight times onboard three aircraft carriers (USS Constellation, USS Enterprise, USS Harry S. Truman), and Joint Base Balad, Iraq.
His titles grew with his training, and he eventually served while attached as Aviation Systems Warfare Operator, Seahawk Weapons and Tactics Instructor (SWTI), Crew Chief/Rescue Swimmer to VS-21, HS-2, HS-7, and HCS-5.
He also served several other combat deployments in the Persian Gulf, Pacific Rim and Mediterranean detachments on various ships and bases.
Strickland accumulated more than 5,500 total flight hours including 1,500 hours on Night Vision Goggles, and over 350 combat flight hours.
For his work he was selected the 1999 Naval Helicopter Association (NHA) Aircrewman of the Year.
Strickland also performed duties as a Master Training Specialist (MTS), Instructor on three separate shore duty assignments.
He finished his Naval career as the procedural, safety, and training Model Manager to the Navy Helicopter community's Seahawk Weapons and Tactics operations worldwide.
Coach Strickland serves as an inspiration to IVC student-athletes and his Athletics colleagues daily.
Despite having 13 different medical operations in his retirement, his commitment to the program and to student success means our athletes see him almost daily, assisting in every way in the mentorship of students and the operations of the volleyball program.
"His return to college in retirement also serves as a reminder to our students of the power of higher education, and our opportunity to be lifelong learners," Irvine Valley Dean and Athletic Director Keith Shackleford said.