Ushering in a new phase at Oshkosh

Michael Johrendt

After 30 combined seasons of Brian Schaefer coaching both the UW Oshkosh men’s and women’s volleyball squads, there will be a new coach for both teams. Before the beginning of the women’s season, Schaefer and the University came to an agreement that he will not to return.

Schaefer, who had coached the men’s team since 2000 and led the women’s squad since 2004, is no longer with either team in any capacity.

Assistant Chancellor and Director of Athletics Darryl Sims said both Schaefer and the University came to an understanding and an agreement to part ways with each other.

“He [Schaefer] stepped down to pursue other opportunities,” Sims said. “The plan is to start the search [for a new head coach] once the current season is officially over.”

According to a press release from the UWO women’s volleyball athletic website, Jonathan Ellmann was installed as the interim head coach on Aug. 16 to lead the team in his second year on the staff. Last season, Ellmann oversaw game analysis, recruiting and youth camp organization.

In Schaefer’s career, he compiled an overall record of 1,134-277-5 across 30 seasons. For the men, he earned a 776-161-5 record and a .826 winning percentage; leading the women, he had a 358-116 record, which equals out to be a .753 winning percentage.

Schaefer took over the women’s team in 2004 from then-coach Marty Peterson during the season and helped the team finish out its campaign with a 10-6 record and 22-11 overall season record. Over the course of Schaefer’s career leading the women’s team, he earned seven Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference regular season titles and two top-10 finishes in the NCAA tournament, including a fifth and a third-place tally in 2008 and 2009, respectively.

Schaefer enjoyed most of his success coaching the men’s team, earning 11 regular-season titles and top-3 finishes in the last 9 of 11 years of collegiate club Division I Championships. The men were able to reach the peak and win the championship in 2006, 2007, 2011 and 2014-2016.

Schaefer also led the squad to 13 consecutive Midwest Ten Conference championships from 2003-2015.

Over the course of Schaefer’s coaching career, he was responsible for mentoring 47 of his players to earn 71 collegiate club All-American and 132 All-Wisconsin Volleyball Conference awards. Schaefer also earned the 2005 collegiate club Division I National Coach of the year award, when the team took home runner-up in the D-I Championship.

Ellmann, who was the top assistant on Schaefer’s staff last year, coached 17 years in the high school volleyball ranks before returning to his alma mater. Ellmann led Lourdes Academy in Oshkosh to six conference titles from 2007-2015 and a state tournament appearance in 2015.

Ellmann’s 11-year coaching career at Lourdes Academy was preceded by a four-year stay leading the Gibraltar High School freshmen and junior varsity teams from of 1999-2003.
Remaining on staff for the Titans is assistant coach Katelyn Vara. Vara is going into her fourth season on UWO’s staff as an assistant.

Vara was a four-year letter winner for UWO as a setter from 2006-2009.

Currently, there is no coach tabbed to lead the men’s volleyball team for its upcoming season.