Eastern Mennonite University has announced that Ross Madden has been hired as the interim men's volleyball coach. He begins his duties with the Royals on Jan. 1.
"I am excited to see what we do because everyone on the team really wants to work hard to get better," said Madden. "I really know and love the game, and I was a leader when I played for Juniata, typically one of the top schools in D-III volleyball, and that experience will only help me at EMU."
Madden was an assistant coach at Deep Run High School in 2014 and has also spent time with the Richmond Volleyball Club, including as a league manager and tournament director for the non-profit organization.
Director of Athletics Dave King said Madden brings a high pedigree with him.
"I am very pleased that we were able to find someone with Ross's volleyball experience on very short notice," King explained. "Despite the fact that he hasn't coached at the collegiate level, his volleyball IQ and his experiences as a D-III student athlete qualify him well for this position."
Madden takes over for Dominick Porter, who resigned in November. The Royals return a full roster from last year's 12-12 team after graduating only one senior.
"Coaching changes at this point in the season can be a challenging situation for the players," said King. "I believe that Ross is well-suited to help the players deal effectively with this coaching change and I'm excited to get the season underway."
A Richmond native himself, Madden already has a relationship with many of EMU's players, as nearly half of the team hails from the men's volleyball hotbed of Virginia's capital city.
He is a 2014 graduate of Juniata College where he was a captain and four-year starter on the powerful men's volleyball team. Madden was a two-time all-conference honoree in the Continental Volleyball Conference, which is the same league in which EMU plays.
Madden explained his style as realistic but with a direction of self-improvement.
"I expect us to get better and better and better," he said. "We can't expect everything to go our way, but (my approach is) every night before I go to bed, I sit and ponder the question, 'How can tomorrow be even better than today?'"
He said if his players adopt a similar desire to improve, the team will benefit.
King explained that Madden is a great fit for this transition time, but also has a chance to lengthen his stay in Harrisonburg.
"During the spring semester, we will be conducting a nationwide search of the next head men's volleyball coach," said King, "a position for which Ross is welcome to apply."
Madden will hit the ground running with the players returning to campus on Jan. 3 for their preseason practices. The Royals open the year on Jan. 14 with a home doubleheader against D-II Emmanuel (Ga.) and Southern Virginia.