Dave Zelenock named as new Tech volleyball coach


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 appearances.

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 seasons.

“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 family.”

Zelenock is well-prepared to take over the reins of the program as head coach.

“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 different.”

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 development/training.

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 all-freshman awards.

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.

The Zelenock File

2004-2005  Northwood University       Assistant Coach   
2006 Delaware State Assistant Coach 
2007-2008 Central Michigan Assistant Coach 
2009-2012    
Central Michigan Associate Head Coach   
2013- Tennessee Tech Head Coach