Ashland University director of athletics Al King announced Friday (April 27) the hiring of Kevin Foeman as the next head volleyball coach at the University.
Foeman comes to Ashland after three seasons as the head coach at Lake Erie where he helped the program improve from three wins in the year before he started to 26 last season. The Storm won the Great Midwest Athletic Conference East Division title and went 15-3 in conference play.
"I am beyond excited for the opportunity to be the next head volleyball coach at Ashland University," Foeman said. "I would like to graciously thank Athletic Director Al King, President (Dr. Carlos) Campo, the entire search committee and everyone who I had the pleasure of meeting for their time and efforts during my visit to campus. From the moment I walked onto campus, I was met with amazing hospitality and kindness, and this really resonated with me."
"One of our goals was to find a head coach who could increase the footprint of the volleyball program," King said. "We wanted someone to increase the visibility of this program on the court, in the classroom and in the community. I believe Kevin can do that. He's a passionate and charismatic coach and he has a great deal of credibility because of the success he's experienced.
"Kevin directs his program from the ground level, he's not offering input from afar. He's also involved in every aspect of the program. There are no small details with Kevin."
Foeman built up a dormant Lake Erie program that had not won more than four matches in each of the previous five seasons before his arrival to the cusp of a national tournament appearance in 2017. Last season, his team had wins over six nationally-ranked teams, including Flagler, Findlay, Drury and Indianapolis.
His team at Lake Erie won nine matches in his first season in 2015, 19 in 2016 and went 26-9 last season when he had five players named to the All-GMAC teams. The Storm won more matches in his three years at the school (54) than they had in the previous six (25) and won far more conference matches (27) than in the previous six seasons (three).
"One thing that stood out were the testimonials we received from Kevin's former players," said King. "Their belief and trust in him catch your attention immediately. It's obvious Kevin knows how to rally the troops. All of us here were impressed by what he's accomplished at Lake Erie. We've seen his teams and how well prepared and conditioned they are. That's an emphatic statement and it hit home with the search committee."
In 2016, Foeman led Lake Erie to a 9-7 conference record in the program's final season in the GLIAC and took the Storm to the GLIAC Tournament semifinal where they lost to Ashland, incidentally, in five sets. His team led the GLIAC in kills and digs and was second in blocks.
Foeman takes over an Ashland program that has qualified for the NCAA Tournament three times in the last six years, all under former head coach Cass Dixon, who resigned the post last month.
"Again I'd like to thank Cass Dixon for the work she did," King said. "She put this program on stable ground and we're indebted to her for living through some growing pains and bringing this program to where it stands today."
"I also want to thank Justin Martin for his work as our interim head coach this spring. He did an outstanding job in directing the program through the spring schedule and in maintaining the entire volleyball operation."
The Eagles were 14-15 last season, but will return three All-GLIAC standouts, including junior Shelby Woycik, who was a first team selection at outside hitter. Senior middle Reanne Neal (second team) and redshirt-junior middle Michaela Ping (honorable mention) were also named All-GLIAC.
"Ashland Volleyball and the athletic department have a rich and storied tradition, and it is an honor to be selected to lead the program moving forward," said Foeman. "Coach Dixon always produced great teams, and I am looking forward to the challenge of continuing that success with an amazing group of athletes."
Prior to his arrival at Lake Erie, Foeman spent three seasons as an assistant coach at regional power Hillsdale. In that time, he also directed the program's strength & conditioning program, was a professor of general dynamics of wellness and served as the assistant director of recreation and sports, overseeing the college's intramural program.
While at Hillsdale, Foeman also was the head director of Charged Up Volleyball Club, overseeing five teams. In that time, he also was the head coach of the 18U National Team, co-head coach of the 16U National Team and head coach of the 14U National Team.
A 2006 graduate of the University of Mary Washington, Foeman was a baseball student-athlete, earning multiple All-America honors. He went on to play professional baseball in the San Francisco Giants organization and several independent league teams. He went on to earn his Masters of Business Administration from Mary Washington in 2013.