Eastern Mennonite University has announced the hiring of Jeff Tyson as head women's volleyball coach. Tyson comes to EMU from Marion, IN, where he has been heavily involved in the region's volleyball scene, including four years as an assistant coach at Indiana Wesleyan University.
He will become the EMU program's ninth head coach when he officially starts on July 1, replacing interim Lauren Reznik. The Lady Royals finished 7-20 last fall with a roster featuring just two upperclassmen.
Eastern Mennonite Director of Athletics Dave King said Tyson was the right pick to lead the program.
"Jeff's experiences as an assistant coach at Indiana Wesleyan have prepared him well for the head coach position at EMU and I'm sure he will continue the building process for our women's volleyball program," explained King. "The strengths he brings in recruiting strategies and use of social media, along with his ability to analyze player development and game strategy should help us increase roster size and develop confidence in young players."
Tyson, a native of Elizabethtown, PA, felt both appreciative and well-fitted for this position.
"Thank you to EMU and the search committee for their belief in me and for their commitment to developing the entire student-athlete," he said. "I am excited to work for an institution that is committed to athletic excellence as well as holistic student-athlete growth. I look forward to leading a passionate and dedicated group of athletes as we look to embark upon the journey of success together."
During his seven seasons as a coach or manager with NAIA Indiana Wesleyan, Tyson was involved in all facets of running a successful program, from recruiting and public relations to weight and individual skill training. The Wildcats compiled a record of 108-66 in his four years as an assistant, including three campaigns with a winning percentage .643 or higher.
King pointed to that experience as a strength for Tyson.
"Having been both a player and coach, Jeff brings a thorough understanding of the game and what it takes to create a winning program," said King. "I believe that his approach to player recruitment and development will produce immediate results in key areas of the women's program."
Tyson graduated cum laude from IWU and added a Master's Degree from Ball State University in physical education with a coaching specialization. King said his personal character has stood out wherever he has been.
"I know that Jeff is looking forward to working in a place where he can integrate his faith with coaching and I believe that he will be a good fit for our situation," King explained. "Jeff is a person of high integrity and character, has a strong work ethic and will always put the team first."
Heading into his first collegiate head coaching job, Tyson is looking forward to starting with the basics and giving EMU fans something fun to watch.
"I am passionate about developing teams that focus on the fundamentals and the details of the game of volleyball on both offense and defense," he said. "When fans come to a match they can expect to watch an exciting volleyball match with a cohesive team that plays hard and hustles for every point."
Jeff and his wife Ruth will move to Harrisonburg in June. The Lady Royals open their 2012 season on the road on August 31, with the full schedule to be released later this summer.