UND volleyball coach Mark Pryor resigned Wednesday.
Pryor's resignation is effective June 15. A UND release said he plans to pursue another opportunity back in his home state of Texas.
“We came to North Dakota for the professional opportunity … the opportunity to do something that had not been done here before," Pryor said in a statement. "I can say that I genuinely believe that we have done that, and my wife, Amanda, and I are extremely grateful that we were able to be a part of a special program and a special community here in Grand Forks. Like I said, I came here for the professional opportunity, but I am leaving for personal reasons. I think that everyone who has coached at this level can at least identify with this decision in at least a minute way. Amanda and I have been married for almost 11 years. In another 11, our youngest will be graduating from high school and heading off to college. The wins are great, and the competition is great, but I have come to the conclusion that being able to experience a better work-life balance is much more important."
UND went 117-58 in five seasons under Pryor.
The Fighting Hawks reached the NCAA Tournament twice, winning the Big Sky Conference tournament in 2016 and 2017. UND went 26-10 overall in 2016 and Pryor won the league’s coach of the year. In 2017, the Fighting Hawks went 30-8, setting a program record for wins in a season.
Last season, UND had its first sub-.500 record under Pryor, going 14-18 in its first year as a member of the Summit League.
Pryor came to UND in 2014 after a four-year stint as the associate head coach and recruiting coordinator at Baylor. He took over for coach Ashley Hardee, who elevated UND’s program to new levels. The Fighting Hawks won two Great West regular-season titles and three playoff titles under Hardee before moving to the Big Sky. The program also set attendance records. Success and interest in the program continued under Pryor, who previously had head coaching experience at Southwest Baptist, Louisiana-Monroe and Texas A&M Commerce.
“First and foremost, I want to thank Mark for all of his efforts here at UND,” UND athletic director Bill Chaves said. “The program was highly successful during his tenure and he has no doubt left the position very desirable for someone to come and continue the tradition of excellence. I have had several conversations with him over the past few months and I know that returning back to Texas will be a great thing for both he and his family. By providing us this timeframe, it gives us a head start in searching nationally for his replacement but also provides stability in transition. Finally, we wish him nothing but the best moving forward.”
A national search will begin immediately for Pryor’s replacement, UND said.
“We will be moving back to Texas to be closer to family, and for me, it will present me more opportunity to really be actively involved with a church, and to spend more time with Amanda, Myles, and Mason,” Pryor said. “I just have a real desire to be much more involved and more present for my family, and I know that I can’t do that while coaching at this level. Some coaches can, but unfortunately, I’m just not wired that way. Leaving this community is absolutely the hardest thing about this decision. We have really grown to love the genuineness and the authenticity of the people here, and we absolutely know what ‘North Dakota Nice’ really is all about.”