New faces at the helm of established programs may be the recipe for success for several spring sports as Chaminade Julienne welcomes new coaches to the boys’ volleyball, softball and track & field programs. And while snow still dots the Dayton landscape, it won’t be long before these teams are taking the field.
The first-year Eagles coaches share what they are looking forward to as well as their greatest challenges for the 2022 spring season.
Evelyn Berry, Men's Volleyball
A former outside hitter, Berry has coached at the middle school and junior high levels at Bishop Leibold and Incarnation Catholic schools since 2014.
"I am most interested in continuing to build the volleyball program at CJ as high school boys volleyball becomes an 'Emerging Sport' within the Ohio High School Athletic Association beginning in 2023. We have a strong foundation here and are working to build more interest in the sport through improving skills, volleyball IQ and strong competition performance," she said.
"Men's volleyball is one of those sports that doesn't pull a lot of interest until athletes reach high school. Most of our athletes start high school as first-time volleyball players or multi-sport athletes trying volleyball for the first time. Teaching skill development, basic rotations, defense and strategy to be able to play competitively is a tall order to fill in a short period of time. The challenge is meeting athletes where they are and helping them reach their individual potential, so they are able to grow and progress to the next level."
Fun facts: Berry volunteers as a part of the costume staff for a local pre-professional dance theatre. She helps design, construct, alter and maintain dance costumes for classical ballet and modern dancers. Her favorite food is just about anything her husband prepares on the grill. She is a fan of the Marvel multiverse and really enjoyed “Spider-Man No Way Home.”
Sheldon James, Track and Field
Sheldon James most recently coached at West Carrollton High School, 2013-2021, serving as the men’s head coach with a focus in the short sprints, hurdles and relays. He was a three-year high school varsity letterman in track and football and competed as a short sprinter at Tiffin University.
"One thing I look forward to about coaching at CJ is helping to develop these young men and women who are student athletes on the track. Ultimately, I want to develop relationships with this school and post high school programs – colleges and universities – so that our student athletes can couple their academic achievements and athletic achievements to receive scholarships at these prestigious academic institutions," he said.
"The greatest challenge is that we do not have a home track and field, though it will not be a deterrent. Our coaching staff does a phenomenal job at adjusting and working with our alternative resources to prepare our student athletes to achieve success in the oval."
Fun facts: James is a husband and a soon-to-be father. He is a "connoisseur of chicken wings" and enjoys Sour Patch candy. He is often watching ESPN or films of practices or meets as part of his research to understand new techniques and ways to communicate with student athletes to achieve success.
Greg Engler, Softball
The 1985 Wittenberg University graduate played varsity football and baseball in high school. He coached football at Alter High School and served as the athletic director at St. Albert the Great where he also coached baseball. Engler also founded and coached baseball in the South Dayton Knights Select Baseball Program.
"I am extremely excited to join the CJ family and athletic program and am looking forward to being involved in the growth of the softball program and athletic development of the individual players. I hope to build on the success which the team enjoyed last season and build a strong foundation for the future by meeting each player where their skill level is currently and work to develop them into stronger players and members of the CJ community," he said.
"The biggest challenge is the lack of any local development program, particularly within our feeder school system. Many players have very few years of competitive experience and are learning the game as they go."
Fun fact: Prior to starting a family and beginning his coaching career, Engler raced open wheel Formula Dodge cars in the Skip Barber Racing Circuit.