MOUNT PLEASANT – Iowa Wesleyan College alum Jill Blake has been hired as the new head coach of the Tigers volleyball program, Athletic Director Mike Hampton announced on Wednesday.
“We’re excited to have an alumnus returning to IWC,” said Hampton. “She was a terrific player here and a member of some strong teams during her time here. We’re also excited to have someone take over program that has a history with volleyball in Southeast Iowa and at Iowa Wesleyan College.”
Blake will take over as the 14th head coach in the history of IWC volleyball. She replaces Erika Candler, who resigned as coach after the 2009 season after four years of leading the program.
“I am very excited to return to IWC and I am looking forward to building a successful volleyball program here in Mount Pleasant as well as in Southeast Iowa,” Blake said. “It has always been a dream of mine to come back and coach here at IWC. This gives me the chance to give back to the college that has given me so much."
Blake returns to coaching volleyball after taking the past three years off while completing work on her master’s degree in education from Park University in Parkville, Mo. She previously was the head coach at Keokuk High School from 2005-06, and prior to that coached Carthage High School in Carthage, Ill. from 2003-04.
Blake is a 2001 graduate of IWC, where she majored in Physical Education. A native of Maquoketa, Iowa, she played volleyball for the Tigers from 1997-99 and was a member of teams that won a combined 56 matches over three seasons. She was three times named All-Midwest Classic (now Midwest Collegiate) Conference, including twice named first team all-conference. She also set what was at the time a school record for kills in a season as a freshman, and also received NAIA all-region and MCC academic all-conference honors in her three years at IWC. For her career Blake finished with 897 kills, 1,062 digs, 190 blocks and 121 service aces over three seasons.
The new coach will step into what looks to be a good situation in her first year at Iowa Wesleyan. The Tigers finished 16-14 last season, the program’s first winning record since 2005, and seven seniors are expected to return for the 2010 season for IWC.
Along with coaching at IWC, Blake also is a physical education teacher in the Keokuk School District. She resides in Keokuk and will continue teaching there as well as coaching the Tigers.
For more information regarding the IWC volleyball program or any of the Tiger athletic teams, contact sports information director Adam Glatczak (319-385-6306 phone; 319-385-6384 FAX; firstname.lastname@example.org e-mail) or log on to IWC's athletics web site at www.iwc.edu/athletics.