Eastern Mennonite University has announced the hiring of Gary Moore as its next head men's volleyball coach. Moore becomes the seventh head mentor of the men's program, which was started in 1991.
He takes over for Interim Coach Derek King, who guided the Royals to an 11-14 record last spring, their first season in the new Continental Volleyball Conference.
Moore, who himself played for Eastern Mennonite during the 1996 season before transferring to D-I George Mason, is excited about the EMU program.
"EMU is in a unique position in that it is one of only two NCAA men's volleyball programs in Virginia," Moore explained. "Also, EMU has so many great attributes that you can't discern by simply reading the website, such as the strong sense of community. Everybody here is dedicated to an individual's complete growth as a person, not just the athletic or academic side, but spiritual and communal as well."
Director of Athletics Dave King feels that his new coach is the right man for the job.
"After a lengthy search process, I am not only pleased to have the position filled, but to be filled with someone like Gary who brings experience in both collegiate and club volleyball programs," said King. "His excitement for returning to EMU to continue the growth of the men's volleyball program is evident and should help him to make a quick transition to this position."
Moore is currently the lead coach and owner of Dominion Volleyball Club in Hampton Roads, VA. Along with a widespread involvement on the club level and with USA Volleyball, he also has men's and women's coaching experience at Rutgers, Norfolk State and Christopher Newport. With D-III institutions regularly re-evaluating their travel costs as well as desires for automatic qualifiers on the conference level, Moore's background should prove vital for EMU.
"With the men's volleyball landscape in the NCAA going through significant changes which could have a major impact on our program," King said, "Gary's experience in several educational institutions, being a business owner and heavily involved in the club volleyball scene make him well suited to give leadership to the emerging nature of men's volleyball in Division III and EMU's place in that picture. His experiences should serve him well in navigating the unknowns of the future. I look for Gary to provide leadership in charting a course for the future of EMU's program but also at the conference level."
Moore's business background also aids EMU in other ways, explains Ken L. Nafziger, Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students.
"In addition to his volleyball coaching skills, Gary also brings extensive experience in supervising fitness center operations," said Nafziger. "His fitness background will benefit his players as well as faculty, staff, and the broader EMU community as he takes on a quarter-time role in the EMU fitness center."
Having played both D-III and D-I volleyball, Moore will also have a unique perspective for his student-athletes.
"Coming back to EMU to coach is very special for me," he said. "It's my homecoming, and I am honored to be able to come back to make a bigger contribution to the men's program and the school as a whole. There are so many people who are still here from when I played here, and I feel a deep sense of humility and obligation to make them proud."
King echoed that perspective.
"He will be in a good position to help his players understand and benefit from all that EMU has to offer and will use volleyball as a way to develop Christian character in the young men he coaches."
Nafziger added thoughts on Moore's work in the classroom as a student.
"Gary's academic record, including graduating with honors from Norfolk State University while also serving as an assistant coach, provides a positive role model for his players to take their academics seriously in the midst of their athletic endeavors," said Nafziger.
Moore's wide-ranging connections should bolster his recruiting efforts. Personally, he is ready to affect young men in a long-lasting manner.
"Winning matches and establishing ourselves as a legitimate force is of course important," he explained, "but that's not all. I am just as interested in having our guys graduate and mature into men of excellence, character and integrity. Ultimately, that's what's most important, and with it, the program is sure to excel."