Dietrich named WHS girls volleyball coach

By on July 10, 2019
Jeff Dietrich takes a selfie with his wife, Gina, and their two daugh-ters, Brenna and Kira

Jeff Dietrich takes a selfie with his wife, Gina, and their two daugh-ters, Brenna and Kira

For the past nine months, Jeff Dietrich has been deployed in the Middle East.

That doesn’t mean, however, that the U.S. Army Reserve officer hasn’t stayed up-to-date with local current events.

And with plenty of connections to the Lancaster-Lebanon League boys and girls volleyball scene — including his brother, Craig, who is head coach of the reigning District Three Double-A champion Manheim Central boys — his sources are reliable.

So when Jeff learned that Warwick girls volleyball boss Brad Glouner was stepping down and moving to Florida, he took steps to confirm the news, then applied for the opening.

Eventually, at Warwick’s school board meeting on Tuesday. June 18, Dietrich was named as the team’s new head coach. He returned from deployment at the end of last week and is looking forward to being back in the Lititz community, where he previously lived for a period of time.

“I’ve always liked the Lititz area and Warwick’s always been a great school district,” Dietrich said. “I have two girls that are 9 (Brenna) and 5 (Kira) and I’m anticipating that they’re going to grow up playing volleyball. So since I knew the position was open and I knew the style of play that the school has put together and Brad has put together in the program, I thought it would be a great opportunity to pick it up and continue the tradition.”

A 1992 graduate of Annville-Cleona High School, he and his wife, Gina, ended up living in Lititz until 2007, when they moved to Wisconsin.

The couple had been having conversations about re-locating back to Pennsylvania once his deployment was finished. In April, they decided to do exactly that, and then not long after, Dietrich got word about Glouner’s plans.

“I’ve been long-time friends with Brad and (Warrior boys volleyball coach) Nate Gajecki,” Dietrich said. “I happened to talk to Brad and heard he was moving, and I was like, ‘Gee, that’s weird, I’m coming back to the area.’ So it all kinda was a perfect storm with how it worked out.”

The sport of volleyball has been close to Dietrich’s heart for a long time. He played with and against Glouner in the Lancaster Volleyball Club growing up, then continued his career at East Stroudsburg University before transferring to King’s College, where he competed for the Monarchs’ club team.

After his first stint in the Army, during which he played for the All-Army and All-Armed Forces teams, he got his degree from Millersville in 2003.

Along the way, Dietrich was an assistant for the Lake Lehman High School girls (1996) and the King’s College women (1998). He also served as the head boys’ coach at Vicenza American High School in Italy in August, 1998, and then one year later, Dietrich led the men’s volleyball All-Army team at Ft. Indiantown Gap.

His position with the Warriors will be his second job in the L-L League, having also taken to the the Elizabethtown boys to their first-ever PIAA State berth in the spring of 2006.

During his time in Wisconsin, Dietrich started a volleyball club, which has since grown from two to seven teams. As part of that, he coached an 18-and-over girls squad, which advanced to Nationals for the first time this year.

From his various coaching stops and travels, Dietrich has a true appreciation for the caliber of play in the L-L League and District Three.

“What attracted me to Warwick? Well, the competition (here) is really second to none in the country,” Dietrich said. “I’ve been in a couple different places and traveled with clubs and the level of competition in this area of Pennsylvania is tremendous. You’ll see that when you see some of these kids go onto clubs and play at the national level, and where they go to college and stuff.”

The Manheim Central boys — under the direction of Craig Dietrich — have played at a tremendous level of competition recently, advancing to the State Double-A finals in 2018 and twice reaching the PIAA Final Four.

Jeff has helped at a Barons’ practice or two when he’s gotten home, and now with him taking the Warwick girls volleyball job, the two will no doubt be assisting one another whenever possible.

“(Craig) should be proud of what he’s done over at Manheim Central. It’s pretty awesome,” Jeff said. “I’m sure now that we’re close by and we both have children and we’re (a few) miles down the road from each other, we’ll get together a lot more and probably help out each other’s programs.”

Glouner and Gajecki are two others to whom Jeff will reach out. Under Glouner, the Warriors claimed their first-ever Section One and Lancaster-Lebanon League championships in 2016 before advancing to the District Three 4A semi-finals.

The next year, Warwick returned to the L-L League championship finals, compiling an overall record of 38-8 in back-to-back seasons.

Asked what he knows about the players that he’s inheriting, Dietrich said, “I do know that there’s a fairly young squad coming up and they’re looking to make an impact in the League after having a couple of really successful seasons and then having a season where they weren’t as successful as they had been. I think they’ve got a lot of kids who have seen how to win and know what it takes to win. So we’re going to sit down and talk about setting some realistic goals and put together a plan to achieve them. That’s the way I’m going to approach it.”

 

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