Kyle Steele has stepped down as the volleyball coach to pursue another coaching opportunity in Arizona.
Steele was named coach in 2014. He became the third volleyball coach since the program’s 2006 revival.
“I would like to thank director of athletics Jim Abbott for giving me this great opportunity at OCU,” Steele told OCUsports. “He and the rest of the athletics staff will be missed. My family and I will remember our amazing players and people at OCU forever.”
Steele coached the Stars to a 73-25 win-loss record during his three years at the university. He guided the team to the 2016 Sooner Athletic Conference regular-season and tournament championships as well as the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics championships.
“For the three years that Coach Steele was at OCU, our national ranking increased every year. This year we we’re able to make it to the Sweet 16 at Nationals, which is the best OCU has ever done at the NAIA National Tournament since the program was created,” said Holly Randall, political science/Spanish junior.
Under Steele’s coaching, the volleyball team achieved their highest national ranking ever at 11. The Stars also accomplished their
- first SAC regular-season title,
- second SAC tournament championship,
- first 30-win season since 2008,
- first 18-0 SAC record, and
- SAC’s 11th undefeated conference record, according to OCUsports.
“Coach Steele was able to recruit and build teams and rotations that were capable of competing at [tournament] level,” Randall said. “Our practices this year were high energy and we came into the gym with the intention of not only competing against other teams during games, but with each other in practices to earn our spots in the lineup. Competition was something Coach Steele really valued.”
Steele was named coach of the year for the American Volleyball Coaches Association NAIA South Central Region, and received his second consecutive SAC coach of the year award last season.
Steele will be moving to Arizona to coach the men’s volleyball team for Ottowa University-Phoenix, said Athletic Director Jim Abbott.
There is not currently a replacement for Steele, but the position has been opened and there have been many applicants, Abbott said. He said they hope to have a new coach in the next month.
“We always hope to maintain a level of success. One advantage that the new coach will have is that we have a terrific team already in place. Unlike when Coach Steele got here, a new coach won’t have to do quite as much work to find great players,” Abbott said. “I’m going to be trying to find a coach that I think can continue to successfully lead our program, but I’m not nervous about it.”