COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Dave Zelenock, who
helped reshape the landscape of Central Michigan volleyball in his
six successful seasons on the Chippewa coaching staff, has been
named as head volleyball coach at Tennessee Tech University.
Tennessee Tech Director of Athletics Mark Wilson announced the
addition of Zelenock to the Tech staff on Friday. Zelenock, 30,
takes over the reins from John Blair, who stepped down in November
after 10 seasons as Golden Eagle head coach.
“The position at Tennessee Tech is really a dream
job,” Zelenock said. “I get to be a head coach in a
conference that is competitive with the resources that it takes to
win. I will have a great administration supporting our program, and
it will give me the opportunity to be successful in my first
college head coaching job.”
A 2005 graduate of Central Michigan, Zelenock was an assistant
coach at Northwood University for two years and Delaware State one
season before returning to his alma mater in 2007. At Northwood, he
helped the team to a 44-21 two-year record and two NCAA Tournament
After two seasons as assistant coach at CMU, Zelenock was promoted
to associate head coach in 2009. With Zelenock on the recruiting
trail, Central Michigan secured its fifth-straight nationally
ranked recruiting class in 2012 and sixth in the past eight
“Dave Zelenock is an up-and-coming coach who is a proven
winner,” Wilson said. “He’s an outstanding
recruiter and coach, and we are excited that he will be joining the
Tennessee Tech coaching staff.
“We feel he can run a program that expects to win OVC
championships and will continue to have outstanding academic
success,” Wilson added.
“The number one thing that convinced me to come to Tennessee
Tech is the people I met there, beginning with Mark Wilson,”
Zelenock said. “I want to work for someone who I want to
follow, and I believe he has great vision for the department. The
people I met were amazing, both at the university and in the
community, and they made me feel comfortable. It’s a great
community and I think Cookeville will be a great place to raise a
Zelenock is well-prepared to take over the reins of the program as
“One of the great things about my time at Central Michigan
is that (head) coach (Erik) Olson and the administration gave me a
lot of room to grow and do quite a bit within the program,”
Zelenock said. “There was not a lot that I didn’t have
my hands in there, so for me this will not be a huge change in the
day-to-day activities. The big change is that now I will be the
final say in recruiting, lineups and some other aspects. The wins
and losses will be in my name now, so that’s a little
Zelenock’s responsibilities have included acting as the
program’s recruiting coordinator and future opponent
scouting. In the gym, he was in charge of outside hitter
During his six seasons at CMU, the Chippewas forged five winning
seasons and a 107-78 overall record. In 2007, his first season on
the staff, Zelenock’s scouting abilities helped CMU to its
first 20-win season since 1985 and first postseason victory in 25
years. The Chippewas held opponents under 20 points on 20 occasions
and won 20 straight sets over the course of eight matches midway
through the season. In 2008, the Chippewas missed their second
straight 20-win season by the slimmest of margins (19-11).
CMU posted its fourth straight winning season in 2009, and
reached the MAC Tournament semifinals for the first time since
1996. The Chippewas tallied postseason victories over Eastern
Michigan and Northern Illinois to reach the semis.
The 2011 CMU team ended a 33-year drought as the Chippewas won
the Mid-America Conference championship and earned the
school’s first trip to the NCAA Volleyball Tournament.
Individually, during his six seasons on the staff Zelenock has
seen seven CMU players earn all-MAC honors as well as two capture
During his time as a student-athlete at CMU, Zelenock was a
four-year starter for the men’s club volleyball team. He
served as captain for three seasons, club president for two years
and was a coach for two years.
He earned his bachelor’s degree from CMU in 2005 while
majoring in physical education with a minor in secondary physical
science. Zelenock and his wife, Jamie, have one son, Jacoby, who is
five months old.