This past season, the Hawks began the road back to the glory days of the 2000s and early 2010s with a doubling of wins from the 2014 season. UMES started 10-0, its best start in program history, en route to a 22-7 season and the team's first berth in the MEAC Tournament since 2012.
Along with the outstanding improvement in wins, Rens' coaching helped the Hawks get five players on the All-MEAC Team, including Rookie of the Year Zuzana Ondruskova. Several Hawks led the conference and were even ranked nationally in individual statistics, and for a time the team led the country in aces per set.
In his first year at UMES in 2001, he won three matches, improvement for a team that hadn't won a match since 1998. He continued to quickly turn the program around with a 20-15 the following season, and a school-record 26-12 mark in 2003, which was recently surpassed in 2012 (28). The 2001 to 2002 season marked the best single-season turnaround in the NCAA. In 2002, he won Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Coach of the Year.
After three seasons with the Hawks, Rens guided the Long Island University-Brooklyn volleyball program for four seasons (2004-07). He won the Northeast Conference (NEC) and took them to the NCAA tournament each season. He went 106-46 during that time, a near 70-percent winning percentage, while averaging over 26 wins-per-season.In 2005, Rens was NEC Coach of the Year. Heregularly boasted one of the highest team GPAs at LIU, twice taking top honors. Two of his student-athletes were named to the 2007 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District Team.
He then went on to coach five seasons at the University of Pittsburgh (2008-12). He won 54-percent of his matches in the competitive Big East Conference and took them to a school-record five consecutive conference berths. During his tenure, he coached three AVCA All-Americans, five All-Region selections, 11 All-Conference nods, and a Big East Player of the Yearand Libero of the Year. His team had the highest grade-point-average (GPA) in the department two of his five years at Pitt.
Between LIU and Pitt, he led the AVCA Academic Award three times ('07-'08, '06-'07, '05-'06).
Rens began his head coaching career at Northern Michigan where he went 58-17 over two seasons (1998-99). He earned two conference titles and NCAA Tournament berths in both seasons while producing five Wildcats with AVCA All-Region honors and a pair of All-Americans.Prior to his first head coaching gig, he was an assistant at Texas Tech for one season before coming to UMES (2000). He has also been an assistant at George Washington (1994-97), Tennessee Tech (1993) and his alma mater, Morningside College (1992).
At Chicago State (2013), he inherited a program that had won just five matches in the previous five seasons, garnering a pair of wins with just seven primary players.
Last season in his return to the Eastern Shore, Rens immediately improved the team with an 11-18 record, eight more wins than the previous year.
Rens has been highly active in national volleyball circles, serving as a member of the NCAA Division I Head Coaches Committee and as a voter in the USA Today and American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Top 25 Coaches Poll.
A native of Orange City, Iowa, Rens graduated from Morningside in 1993 with a bachelor's in physical education.