The COVID-19 pandemic has left Santa Barbara City College unsure about playing sports this spring, but it did lock in a new coach on Monday.
Jordon Dyer, MVP of the Vaqueros’ men’s volleyball team in 2012, is returning to the school as its new head coach.
“It is obviously a very fluid situation right now,” he said, “but we hope that we can use the gym as soon as we are allowed to in a safe manner.”
Dyer, a 2009 graduate of Dos Pueblos High, played a season at Golden West College before transferring to City College. He received First-Team All-Western State Conference honors with the Vaqueros.
“Ever since I transferred from SBCC as a student-athlete, I have wanted to return and serve as a coach,” he said. “The opportunity to help develop these young adults achieve their goals at such an incredible institution like SBCC is really appealing to me.
“I feel like I can relate to these student-athletes since I was in their shoes not too long ago and look forward to positively impacting each and every one of their lives.”
Dyer also played four years for the USA Beach Youth National Team, winning a bronze medal at the U21 beach national championships in 2011.
He won the 2013 National Collegiate Sand Volleyball Association Championship with former SBCC assistant coach Dillan Bennett. He also captured the Santa Barbara Men’s AA Tournament the following year to earn a AAA rating from the California Beach Volleyball Association.
He spent two years as a volunteer assistant women’s beach volleyball coach at Long Beach State, helping the 49ers earn a No. 2 national ranking and a spot in the finals of the 2015 AVCA Collegiate Championships. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from the school that same year. He got a Master’s of Science in Kinesiology from Cal Baptist in 2019.
Dyer also coached for three years at Stetson University in Florida, serving as an assistant for both its women’s indoor and beach volleyball teams. He took over as interim head beach volleyball coach in 2019.
He also reestablished himself in Santa Barbara, founding the 805 Beach Volleyball Club in 2018 while also coaching with the Santa Barbara Volleyball Club. He teaches the Exercise Sport & Science Volleyball class at UCSB and has coached girls high school volleyball at both Cate and Laguna Blanca.
Dyer also volunteers with a boys indoor team — the Coast Volleyball Club — and was recently hired as the CBVA’s tournament director for Santa Barbara.
“We’re very happy to welcome a coach of Jordon’s caliber to the Vaquero family,” athletic director Rocco Constantino said. “He is widely respected in Santa Barbara and has an extensive history in the volleyball community here.
“We had some great candidates for the position, and we felt that Jordon was the best choice for our students from an athletic and academic perspective. I liked how much he stressed the academic side of the position and am confident he will be a great resource and educator for our students.”
Dyer plans to continue coaching volleyball at Cate and Laguna Blanca as well as teaching at UCSB.
He takes over for Jon Newton, who stepped down after four years as SBCC’s head coach. The Vaqueros were 8-2 and ranked No. 4 in the state when the rest of last season was canceled because of the coronavirus.
“Jon Newton did an absolutely tremendous job building our program up to become one of the best in the state, both academically and athletically, and I believe Jordon can maintain that,” Constantino said. “Jordon faces a really difficult situation with all of the uncertainty surrounding the season, but I think he’ll do a great job leading the program through this transition.”
The pandemic has already forced SBCC to opt out of 10 fall and winter sports this year. The men’s volleyball team is tentatively set to start workouts on March 27 and games on April 10. A final decision about spring sports will be made on Feb. 26, Constantino said.
Dyer’s older brother, Brennon, has served for the last two years as an assistant coach with the Vaqueros. He’s been running the program since Newton stepped down last May.
“I am glad that we will be able to keep Brennon on board as the assistant,” Dyer said. “He has a wealth of knowledge and the student-athletes really enjoy his coaching style.”
He said the local climate should help the Vaqueros get ready for this season regardless of the pandemic.
“Our alternatives involve training outside and, fortunately enough, we live in a place where the weather is very manageable,” Dyer said.
“My main goals are to ensure that every student-athlete involved in the men’s volleyball program develops academically, athletically and as an individual,” he continued. “If these goals are achieved, then they should be set up to succeed in their future endeavors.
“Jon, Brennon and Steve (Zelko) all did a great job in these regards and I aim to continue on the path they established.”