June 28, 2016

Intermittent clouds

Medina volleyball coach Jason Schellenberger calls it quits

MEDINA — Jason Schellenberger rebuilt Medina’s volleyball program and took it to heights it had not seen in more than a quarter-century.

But after nine seasons on the bench, he has decided it’s time to move on.

Schellenberger has resigned as coach in order to devote more time to his family. He leaves as the second-winningest coach in Medina history with 98 victories.

“My wife (Rachel) and I have four young children, which is the main reason I stepped down,” said Schellenberger, whose win total is tied for 10th all-time in Medina County. “It was a difficult decision not to continue coaching, but deep down, I knew this was the right time to do it.”

A Highland and Kent State graduate, Schellenberger spent five years as an assistant with the Bees before taking over the program in 2004. His nine seasons as varsity coach are a Medina record, as are his 216 career matches.

Prior to Schellenberger’s tenure, Medina had only finished with a winning record two times in the previous 13 years. He piloted the Bees to five such seasons, including four in a row from 2006-09.

“I believe patience and consistency were the biggest reasons for our success,” said Schellenberger, whose overall record was 98-118. “Since I was with the program for 14 years, the players, parents, and coaches learned my expectations and philosophy, which helped bring stability to the program.”

That stability, in turn, led to unprecedented accomplishments on the court.

The 2007 Bees broke every school record for success by finishing 21-4 and winning the Northeast Ohio Conference River Division with a 10-0 mark. Setter Emily Hulthen was Gazette MVP, while Deanna Glass, Lauren Zakes and Lauren Gaydosh provided the power at the net.

Four years later, Medina went 16-9 and advanced to regionals for the second time in school history, the other coming in 1984. The Bees were led by Gazette MVP Ally Peters, Kaitlyn Witsaman and Mallory Gustincic, all of whom continued their careers in college.

“If I could only choose two seasons, I would say 2007 and 2011 were the highlights, but there were so many other memories created over the years,” Schellenberger said. “I also think back to the summer camps and watching the teams start to bond.”

Though Schellenberger has ended his high school coaching career, he remains active in the sport, albeit with much younger athletes. He is coaching his daughter Makenzie’s Junior Olympic team with longtime friend Erick Sopata of Strongsville.

Medina volleyball fans, of course, are quite familiar with each of the Schellenberger children — Sean, 9, Makenzie, 7, Ava, 4, and Kate, 2 — as they literally grew up before their eyes.

“Sean and Makenzie are now getting into sports and other activities, and it really started to get tough juggling my volleyball responsibilities with getting to their games and activities,” Schellenberger said. “When they get older, I’m not sure if I would be interested in getting back into high school coaching, but you never know.”

Schellenberger’s departure leaves Medina without any high school volleyball coaches, as assistants Connie Daum and Kim Solosky stepped down immediately after the 2012 season. Both also resigned to spend more time with their husbands and young kids.

“I would like to thank our current and past coaches, players, parents, athletic department and boosters for their commitment to the program,”
Schellenberger said. “But the biggest thank you goes to my wife Rachel for all of the support that she has given me through all of the years. I couldn’t have done any of it without her.”

Contact Brian Dulik at brisports@hotmail.com.