CIRCLEVILLE, OH – Ryan Wheatley is the new head volleyball coach at Ohio Christian University. The announcement comes after an intense search process which started in December. Wheatley will look to build on the recent success of the program under former head coach, Dave Hopewell. Hopewell led OCU into a three year growth process which culminated in the first-ever Mid-East Region Volleyball Championship for the Trailblazers in 2012.
Wheatley, an Ohio native, graduated from Westerville North High School, where he was a two-sport letter winner in both volleyball and soccer. He comes to Ohio Christian University as a 20 year Air Force veteran with over 15 years of volleyball coaching experience at high school, adult league, and club levels.
He comes to OCU after recently rebuilding a struggling high school volleyball program at Robinson High School in Tampa, Florida. After taking over a winless program in 2009, Coach Wheatley led RHS to their first District Championship and Regional Semifinal Berth in 34 years. For his efforts he was selected as the Western Conference Coach of the Year in 2011.
Wheatley is excited about taking over the program at OCU. "I want to help young ladies learn not only the fundamentals of competitive volleyball, but valued lessons they can incorporate into their everyday lives." stated Wheatley.
Ben Belleman, OCU Director of Athletics, feels that Wheatley's experience makes the difference. "We think that Ryan Wheatley is a great addition to Ohio Christian University. His years of experience, passion for the game, and attention to detail will help take the volleyball program to the next level. This is another key staff addition as we build a coaching staff that is passionate about integrating faith and sport."
Coach Wheatley believes that OCU is a perfect fit for him as a Christian coach. "I have been on a journey with the Lord and he has now led me to Ohio Christian. I will bring leadership, fundamental teaching, enthusiasm, and a passion not only for volleyball but for following Christ. This is a program that has amazing potential and I am honored and blessed to be a part of it."
With a strong nucleus of returning players and a talented 2014 recruiting class already signed and committed, there is a reason for excitement for the upcoming season. With offseason workouts just around the corner, Trailblazer Volleyball will be primed and ready to once again be a national contender in the NCCAA this Fall.