University officials hired Jason Munoz as the new head coach of the volleyball team.
The position became available in January after former coach Kyle Steele left the university for another coaching opportunity.
Steele was the coach since 2014. He was the program’s third coach since 2006. The team achieved their highest ranking ever (11th) during Steele’s tenure.
Before coming to OCU, Munoz coached at Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford for three years and at Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee for eight years.
Originally from Odessa, Texas, Munoz graduated from Putnam City West High School in Oklahoma City. Though he was athletic growing up, Munoz said he didn’t get into volleyball until college when friends from California taught him to play sand volleyball.
Munoz worked next door to the volleyball coach at SWOSU and eventually was invited to play at some tournaments with the team. This led to the coach asking Munoz to be his graduate assistant, which Munoz accepted.
Munoz said he wants to see his players succeed on and off the court. One of his goals for OCU’s team is to return to nationals.
“I really want us to make a strong push at nationals,” he said.
For this, Munoz is working on fundamentals in practice. He said he uses last season’s victories to psych up the team and improves their motivation by reminding them that he wants to return to nationals.
Munoz also said he wants to see the team succeed in the classroom. There are limited opportunities to play volleyball after college, so he wants the team to be prepared for post-graduation life, he said.
Encouraging academic success is an important part of being a coach, Athletic Director Jim Abbott said.
“We want to continue to educate and graduate students, and we want to see them active socially on campus,” Abbott said.
Holly Randall, junior middle blocker, said the team has been impressed with the new coach so far.
“Jason has made a great first impression since starting with the team,” Randall said.