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Nov. 13, 2002

Columbia, S.C. – Unlike the United States where volleyball is regarded as a predominantly female sport, China views volleyball as a male and female sporting event. Since the age of 12, Jason Hou has been dedicated to the sport of volleyball. Hou, the youngest of three sons, was born and raised in Beijing, China. He credits his oldest brother, Jie Hou, who played for the Chinese National Team, for getting him involved in volleyball, even though all the men in his family played.

“My brother played for the national team, I wanted to follow in his footsteps,” said Hou.

In order to learn more about the sport and gain experience, in his youth Hou played with the Anshan City Club and his high school volleyball team.

From there, Hou went on to Beijing University to study for his bachelor’s degree in Physical Education. At which time, he took time off from volleyball to concentrate on his studies.

Upon graduation, he began what would be an exciting professional career in volleyball with the Chinese National Team. Not only did his team win six World Military Volleyball Championships, but they also won four World Championships. Additionally, he played with the World League from 1992-95.

Due to knee problems, Hou made a career move from athlete to coach. Hou’s coaching career began as an assistant coach for the Chinese Women’s National Team. During this time, his team earned the silver medal in the 1996 Olympics, second place in the World Championships, third place in the World Cup, and first place in two Asian Games.

“It was my dream job to become the head coach of the Chinese National Team but I enjoyed being assistant coach,” said Hou.

Prior to the 1996 Olympics, Hou and his team went to California for a national competition and it was at this event that the head coach from the Chinese Women’s National team recommended Hou to Saint Louis University. Ten days after leaving the assistant coach position with the National Team, Hou moved to the United States to become a second assistant coach at Saint Louis University.

“I did not speak or understand English, so while I coached during the day I took classes at night to learn English,” explained Hou.

The University brought Hou to the states on a scholarship, and after a year Hou returned to China to continue as the assistant coach for the National Team.

In 2000, Hou moved back to the United States to be an assistant coach at the College of Southern Idaho. After a year of uncertainty and discontent, Hou left Southern Idado and moved to Los Angeles. While in L.A., Hou took on a temporary job in sales; meanwhile, he continued surfing the internet for a volleyball coaching position.

“It was my goal to find another coaching position, but if I could not find one, my alternative plan was to start a volleyball club,” said Hou.

Four months after moving to L.A., Hou was given the opportunity to be an assistant coach at South Carolina. Hou met one of his career goals of becoming a Division I coach when he joined the USC volleyball team. In his first year with the Gamecocks, Jing (Jason’s birth name) as his players sometimes refer to him, is enjoying himself more than ever. The other coaches and players look at Hou with admiration and respect.

“Jason’s coaching style is direct and positive and the athletes have confidence in the information he is giving them,” said Head Coach Kim Christopher. “He brings a wealth of volleyball knowledge. Certainly, his strength is taking that knowledge and teaching our athletes in a way that they understand.”

From a player’s standpoint, Hou’s dedication to the sport is a tremendous asset to the team.

“Jason has been a great addition to our Gamecock family,” said Megan Hosp. “This team admires and respects him as a coach and friend. Jason’s experience has helped me evolve into a better setter physically and mentally. He spends much of his time watching films and studying the game in order to educate us more on the game.”

In between volleyball and moving from one place to another, Hou found time for a personal life, he married his wife Sally and two years ago they welcomed to the world a son, Bright. Currently, Sally and Bright are living in China, but anticipate moving to Columbia in February, 2003. Hou briefly saw his wife and son while he was living in Idaho and again in June when he visited with them in China.

“It has been difficult on me being so far away from my family, but I cope with it by keeping busy with coaching,” explained Hou.

Hou’s passion is volleyball and the best thing about being a coach is the opportunity to share his expertise with those who enjoy the sport too.

“The key to my success is my love of the sport and I encourage everyone to never give up on their goals,” said Hou.