Welcome Coach Volker
𝗕𝗘𝗘𝗖𝗛𝗪𝗢𝗢𝗗 𝗛𝗜𝗥𝗘𝗦 𝗝𝗔𝗬 𝗩𝗢𝗟𝗞𝗘𝗥 𝗧𝗢 𝗟𝗘𝗔𝗗 𝗧𝗜𝗚𝗘𝗥𝗦 𝗙𝗢𝗢𝗧𝗕𝗔𝗟𝗟 𝗣𝗥𝗢𝗚𝗥𝗔𝗠
(Beechwood Athletics Facebook)
The Beechwood Independent Schools is very pleased to announce, with both great pride and optimism, that Jay Volker has been selected to serve as the next head coach of the storied Tigers football program. For the past two seasons, Volker served in the same role on the sidelines at Talawanda High School in Oxford, Ohio, after successful stints as an assistant in the greater Cincinnati area. In nearly a half century of football in Fort Mitchell, Volker will be only the fourth head coach to oversee the Beechwood program, taking the torch from Bernie Barre (1975-1990), Mike Yeagle (1991-2005), and Noel Rash, who wore the visor for seventeen seasons (2006-2022) and retired from coaching in February. All told, the Tigers won 17 KHSAA state championships under Barre, Yeagle and Rash and have established a tradition of excellence both on and off the gridiron.
“I am excited, honored, and incredibly humbled to be the next head coach at Beechwood, because it is a top-tier school both athletically and academically,” said Volker. “You look back at nearly fifty years of Beechwood football, and three head coaches have been here. They’ve thrived and loved it. It tells you all you need to know about how special this place is and I can’t wait to get started.”
A Cincinnati native, Volker played in the highly-competitive Greater Catholic League (GCL) as a team captain for both the football and track and field programs at Elder High School. After graduating from Elder in 2008, Volker stayed close to home and played college football for Thomas More University, where he was a three-year team captain for the Saints. After college, Volker embarked on a career in teaching and coaching.
Volker served as an assistant coach at Kings High School during the 2019 and 2020 seasons, and as the defensive coordinator at Moeller High School during the 2018 campaign. The Crusaders won an outright GCL championship that season and Coach Volker mentored six players that landed first team all-conference honors.
From 2015-2017, Volker served as Associate Head Coach in a program that won back-to-back Ohio Division II state championships at LaSalle High School. The head coach during that run of excellence, Jim Hilvert, also served as the coach at Thomas More during Volker’s playing career.
“Jay is a great leader of men. He’s a relentless worker and a coach that will carry on the winning tradition at Beechwood,” Hilvert said.
Volker has also worked alongside some of the bright football minds in Division I college football. Volker got his start in coaching as an assistant at Georgia State University from 2013-2015, where one of his colleagues on the coaching staff was Jesse Minter, currently the Defensive Coordinator at the University of Michigan.
“Jay is a very relentless and very passionate coach that cares deeply about all of his players. He’s the most football-hungry person I’ve ever been around,” Minter said. Coaching and football also run in the Volker family. Volker’s brother, P.J., is the Defensive Coordinator at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.
“I’m excited for Jay and Beechwood. This is a perfect match. Beechwood High School is getting a passionate coach committed to developing players on and off the field.” And P.J. Volker added, “His enthusiasm, work ethic and leadership will continue to grow Beechwood’s championship program.”
Volker became the clear choice during the application process by enthusiastically laying out an ambitious and attainable vision for every facet of the Beechwood football program: both on and off the field, in the classroom, the weight room, the community, and at the younger and more developmental levels of the program.
“Jay Volker carries himself with a polished and professional presence that can only come from experience. He not only learned excellence, but lived it at Kings, LaSalle, Moeller, and during his playing days at Elder High School”, principal Justin Kaiser said. “What resonated most was his passion to grow our student athletes into men through a brotherhood you can only find at Beechwood.”
Volker graduated from Thomas More University in 2008 with a B.A. in biology. He earned a Master of Education in Educational Leadership from the American College of Education in 2022. He and his wife, Erika, welcomed their first child, a daughter named MacKenzie, three months ago.
Kaiser, the principal at Beechwood, sees only great days ahead in the next chapter of Beechwood football.
“From ‘Pride, Brotherhood and Unity’, the moniker of the 1990s, to ‘Commitment, Sacrifice and Brotherhood’ of the 2000s, I am truly excited to see what this next generation of football brotherhood grows into under Coach Volker’s leadership”, Kaiser said. “This is a great day.”
Athletic Director Ryan Booth and Assistant Athletic Director Brandon Slusher said in a joint statement, “We are excited to welcome Jay, Erika, and MacKenzie to the Beechwood and Fort Mitchell community. He takes over a football program that has such a rich history of developing our student athletes into outstanding young men and tremendous football players. We are confident that Coach Volker will continue this tradition and will lead our program with pride into the next era of Beechwood football.”
A “Meet and Greet” for the community and parents will be held on Monday, March 20th at 6:00pm in the varsity gym.