GREENFIELD — With hopes of building around an already established foundation, Travis Fuller was in search of a new home — until he found one at Greenfield-Central High School.
A 2007 Carmel High School graduate and current Indianapolis resident, Fuller is well aware of the volleyball tradition cemented around the Hoosier Heritage Conference and Hancock County.
And he’s prepared.
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Named to the 2016 American Volleyball Coaches Association’s Thirty under 30 list, Fuller, 27, is one of the top young coaching talents in the country.
Created in 2009, the award is used to celebrate up-and-coming coaches at all levels of the sport, according to avca.org. He was just one of six coaches at the club or high school level named to the list.
Fuller, who works full time as the Director of Player and Coach Development at The Academy Volleyball Club (Indianapolis), said Greenfield-Central, in his gut, just felt like the best fit.
“Based on what I think a program needs to be successful, everything just seemed right,” he said. “The program size is going to be manageable in terms of bringing a lot of people on board. It is just the right size to get a strong community program.
“Greenfield has a lot of kids who understand the importance of postseason volleyball. I like the idea of getting the community behind it all.”
Prior to his time at the academy, Fuller spent time coaching at his alma mater, Purdue University, during the 2013-15 seasons with head coach Dave Shondell, who in 13 seasons has turned the Boilermakers into a well-respected national program. According to Fuller, Big Ten volleyball is second to none.
“I have coached and been a part of three great conferences. The Big Ten, I think has created separation in terms of the best in volleyball,” Fuller said. “The Hoosier Heritage Conference is good, there is no question about it. In terms of conferences in (Class) 4A, there is none better.
“It’s not something I seek out, but I guess I tend to gravitate towards these (type of) conferences.”
At Meet the Coach Night early in May, Fuller received a taste of the family feel around the community and the strong support for the program. He said maintaining it will start from the ground up.
“We kind of outlined what our program vision was for Greenfield-Central,” Fuller said, who replaces Deena Batton. “Right off the bat we already talked about getting our youth involved, and that’s something we want to do throughout the summer.”
Fuller, who played volleyball for four years at Carmel (2006-07 Indiana All-Star) and for a season at St. Ambrose University, also has experience coaching in Lafayette at Central Catholic and McCutcheon.
As for next season, though, Fuller takes over a team which finished 21-12 overall in 2015 and 2-5 in the HHC (sixth). Yorktown (7-0) finished atop the conference last year followed by Delta (6-1), Mt. Vernon (5-2), New Castle (4-3) and New Palestine (3-4).
Rachel Irbe, who will play at Central Michigan University, was lost to graduation, but a strong senior class (six players) returns with ample experience.
Seniors Laura Banton and Emily Diehr will man the net offensively, and defensively Molly Broome (712 assists), a sophomore, returns as the Cougars’ setter.
Senior Courtney Marchello, the team’s libero, also is back after leading Greenfield-Central with 215 kills in 2015.
Irbe finished with 422 kills last season, while Banton added 228 and Diehr tallied 216.
“We are going to need contributions from everybody,” Fuller said. “Where we are talented, we are not very deep. We have a good sophomore class and some kids got experience last year.”
Fuller and his wife, Kylee, who own a Blue Weimaraner together, were married last May.
– Current director of coach and player development, The Academy Volleyball Club
– Volunteer assistant coach, Purdue University (2013-15)
– Assistant director, Indiana Volleyball Academy (2013)
– Head volleyball coach, McCutcheon High School (2012)
– Head volleyball coach, Lafayette Area Volleyball Academy (2009-13)
– Head JV/varsity assistant coach, Lafayette Central Catholic (2010) * Class A State Champs