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Former Tech coach John Blair to be voice of OVC Tournament webcasts


By April Gilbert, TTU Sports Information student assistant

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- Former Tennessee Tech volleyball coach John Blair will be taking time out of retirement and returning to Ohio Valley Conference volleyball in a new capacity. Blair will be the voice of the 2013 OVC Volleyball Tournament webcasts, taking place Nov. 21-23 in Morehead, Ky.

The OVC has been looking to enhance the broadcasting procedure for the tournament. Blair was chosen for the job based on his fundamental knowledge about volleyball which matched the voice that OVC officials were looking for in an announcer when they began their search last December.

“At that point I knew I wasn’t going to be coaching and I kind of threw my hat in the ring right there not really knowing what was going to come from it and, lo and behold, here we are,” Blair said. “The OVC reached out to me and asked me if I was serious and still interested in doing it, and I was.”

Jennifer Gibbs, OVC Assistant Commissioner for Championships, put her personal stamp of approval on Blair getting the position for the tournament.

“We are pleased to have John Blair serve as the announcer for OVC Digital Network production of the 2013 OVC Volleyball Championship,” said Gibbs. “John brings a wealth of knowledge about the sport with his background as a coach and player which should provide our viewers with some educational value, as well.  As a former coach within the OVC, John will also be able to bring unique insight into each team’s style of play, game plan and history.  We are looking forward to a high quality production with John as our talent.”

Blair’s career at Tech has supplied the volleyball program with substantial growth, which ultimately led him to claim the honor of being the third-winningest coach in Tech volleyball history. With over 27 years of coaching experience under his belt, he has managed to compile 381 wins, including 107 career wins at Tech.  

After 10 seasons of devoted coaching at Tech, Blair saw several ups and downs to each season, all the while still managing to see his players garner 11 all-OVC awards, five OVC all-tournament awards, six all-newcomer awards, as well as an OVC Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, and Newcomer of the Year awards.

For Blair, these accomplishments were worth the time and effort put into leading the Golden Eagles; however, the one achievement he is most proud of capturing is one that cannot be attained on the court.  

“To me, personally, it’s the fact that every single player we have brought into that program has gone on to graduate from college,” said Blair. “That’s what we tell them when we bring them in that you are here to get a college degree.”

Blair confirmed that graduation is one of the key focuses in the Tech volleyball program, and he is proud that they have been able to accomplish that feat.

Under Blair’s tutelage, his players have excelled in the classroom earning one Academic All-American and four Academic All-District IV awards on top of 61 OVC Commissioner’s Honor Roll awards.

Blair is anxious to continue his kinship with the OVC as part of the production staff. For Blair, being a part of this team is like a homecoming for him.

“I think the OVC has a great product,” said Blair. “I think if there’s anything I can do to enhance that, even if it’s just a small little offering of my services for the broadcast, I’d like to continue to help the conference in any way I can.”

As far as continuing his role as announcer for the OVC volleyball tournament in years to come, Blair said: “A lot depends on how it goes this time. As far as I’m concerned it’s something I would look forward to doing again.”

The free webcasts of the tournament can be seen on the OVC Digital Network, found at ovcdigitalnetwork.com/showcase/