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Former YSU head coach to take charge of EGCC’s first women’s volleyball team

September 11, 2019
J.T. Whitehouse , The Town Crier

Eastern Gateway Community College (EGCC) is adding women's volleyball to their athletic line up next year. The new EGCC sport will be under the direction of head coach Joe Conroy of Canfield, who was officially announced for the position on Aug. 28.

"Eastern Gateway Community College athletics is thrilled to launch our women's volleyball program and first women's intercollegiate sport under the guidance of head coach Joe Conroy," said John Zizzo, EGCC director of athletics. "Joe brings years of experience and a wealth of volleyball knowledge to our program."

Conroy first got interested in volleyball at the age of 13 when his father Joe Sr. would take him to the Youngstown YMCA where he learned to play the game. He is a 1974 Boardman graduate who went on to the University of Toledo where he played four years for the Rocket Volleyball Club Team. With a lot of hard work, Conroy developed the skills needed to be on top of the sport.

Article Photos

Photo by J.T. Whitehouse, Town Crier
Joe Conroy of Canfield is stepping into the head coach position for women’s volleyball at Eastern Gateway Community College for the 2020 season.

In 1978, he was invited to a 1980 U.S. Olympic Team tryout for volleyball. Of the 172 players invited, Conroy made the final 16 before being cut.

After graduating from UT in 1979 with a degree in communications, Conroy ended up moving to Southern California where he played on the beach volleyball circuit. He returned to the Valley in 1985 and took on the dual role of strength and conditioning coach-assistant volleyball coach under the late John McKenna at Youngstown State University.

He went on to become YSU's head coach in 1992 after McKenna's untimely death and for the next 13 years, led the program to 188 overall victories and into a perennial power in the former Mid-Continent Conference.

After winning four separate "head coach of the year" titles in his time at the helm, he earned a fifth and final "Coach of the Year" in 1999 after leading the Penguin netters to a 13-1 conference mark.

After leaving the YSU program to accept a different position at YSU, Conroy stayed with the sport by forming a Junior Olympic travel volleyball program in the Youngstown area called the Thunder Volleyball Club.

"The season for Thunder Volleyball begins with try-outs in November," Conroy said. "The competition runs from January into May."

He said the new EGCC team starts next August and therefore would not overlap. In fact, Conroy said he will look to get some of his Thunder girls into the EGCC Gators' program.

"I'll do my best to recruit as many Thunder girls as I can," Conroy said.

Conroy is currently celebrating his 50th season in the sport of volleyball. Over those 50 years he has served as player for both indoor and beach volleyball, college coach, and club coach.

"I am excited for this opportunity as I will be starting the Gators' program from ground zero and building it," he said.

 
 

 

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