Sports / Volleyball

Assistant volleyball coach leaves for head job at Tennessee Tech

After a 3-25 volleyball season, Tennessee Tech has hired Central Michigan associate head coach Dave Zelenock as its new head coach.

Zelenock was with the Chippewas for six seasons under head coach Erik Olson. During his tenure, he helped the program win its first Mid-American Conference championship and NCAA tournament appearance.

Zelenock is a CMU alum and was the program’s recruiting coordinator. The Chippewas have had five-straight ranked recruiting classes.

“We are extremely excited for Dave and his family,” Olson said in a release. “Dave’s goals were to become a head coach, and I am very pleased to see him get this opportunity. Dave has been a very big contributor to our program’s success, and I am glad to see his hard work pay off.  He will be missed, and we wish him all the success in his next adventure.”

It came as no surprise to Olson, as he knew from the start that Zelenock’s ultimate goal was to become a head coach. He even went beyond Olson’s expectations as Zelenock guaranteed when he took the job that he would be on staff through 2009.

“He called me when he found out, so I knew it was happening,” Olson said. “We support Dave, and he told from the start he would be here through 2009, and I knew he’d been putting out feelers for the past few years.”

Zelenock takes over the Golden Eagles after former head coach John Blair stepped down after 10 seasons.

“The position at Tennessee Tech is really a dream job,” Zelenock said in a release by Tennessee Tech. “I get to be a head coach in a conference that is competitive with the resources that it takes to win. I will have a great administration supporting our program, and it will give me the opportunity to be successful in my first college head coaching job.”

During his time at CMU, Zelenock helped the program go 107-78, and he credits (Erik) Olson and the program on his new job.

“One of the great things about my time at Central Michigan is that coach Olson and the administration gave me a lot of room to grow and do quite a bit within the program,” Zelenock said in the release. “There was not a lot that I didn’t have my hands in there, so, for me, this will not be a huge change in the day-to-day activities. The big change is that now I will be the final say in recruiting, lineups and some other aspects. The wins and losses will be in my name now, so that’s a little different.”

While with the Chippewas, Zelenock excelled at his job as recruiting coordinator, outside hitters coach and defensive coordinator.

Olson said it is his eye for talent and defensive knowledge that will be greatly missed.

“He’s got a great eye for talent and finding that special player where other teams might not look,” Olson said. “It will be his work as the defensive coordinator where he’ll be missed the most.”

A national search has already begun, and Olson is looking for a person to come in as co-coordinator.

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