After taking over as the head volleyball coach a little over a year ago, Jason Bibler is ready to take on season number two. With a full season of experience, Bibler and his relatively new team will strive to prove many of the Southland Conference’s coaches and players wrong.
“Every day you learn something new, and every day is a challenge,” Bibler said. “There is always something that comes up that you have to fight to get past.”
Bibler, who began playing volleyball competitively his senior year of high school, played collegiately for two years at the United State Merchant Marine Academy before moving back to Colorado, where he would begin his coaching career at Air Academy high school.
After compiling a career record of 32-31 and qualifying for the playoffs every year, Bibler moved to the collegiate coaching level, serving two years as a graduate assistant at Angelo State (2008-2009), three years as Kellen Mock’s (former ACU head coach) assistant (2010-2012) and one season assisting University of Texas-Arlington (2013) great Diane Seymour.
“Me being a head coach is not something I just thought about doing randomly,” Bibler said. “Being a head coach at the Div. I level has been something I’ve been wanting to do since I started coaching club 12 years ago. So everything has kind of prepared me for this.”
In his first season as ACU’s head coach, Bibler helped the Wildcats double their conference victories from the previous season, with notable wins coming against Southland Conference tournament qualifiers, Southeastern Louisiana and McNeese State.
“I think a lot of this last year that I’ve been here was a lot of seeing who is going to be on board with me, and I think we’ve got a group of really really good girls that want to do that,” Bibler said. “We lost a lot so there is always a lot to learn, always things you can improve at when you lose.”
Assistant Coach Ijeoma Moronu, who was the interim head coach before Bibler and now serves as his assistant, believes his passion for coaching this team has them headed in the right direction.
“Jason cares a lot about the girls and the program and I know that the decisions he makes are based off of that,” Moronu said. “It’s great to work with someone that loves volleyball as much as I do and loves the ACU program as much as I do. Jason has done an amazing job with the ACU program. The work he puts into the program is shown by the hard work the girls put in every practice and lift session.”
Bibler took over the head coaching position just one year after ACU’s big transition from Div. II to Div. I.
“The speed of Div. I is significantly faster than Div. II and Jason has definitely caught the program up to par if not greater in the Southland Conference,” Moronu said.
As Bibler begins his eighth season at the college level of competition Moronu said he embraces a persona similar to Phil Jackson when coaching.
“On the sideline he doesn’t show a ton of emotion one way or another but he knows the right things to say in the right situation,” Moronu said. “He has a close relationship with his players and wants them to be the greatest team possible.”
Bibler’s ties to the team go deeper than the game of volleyball itself. He said coaching at ACU has given him the opportunity to pair his early dream of ministry with his love for volleyball.
“Honestly here we get to pray together as a team, I get to teach them about Jesus, which are two things I love doing, and I get to coach,” Bibler said. “I get to coach DI level volleyball and for lack of a better term I get to be a college minister. If there is a better job than this I haven’t had it yet.”