North Central College Athletic Director Jim Miller has announced the hiring of Kyle Exline as the first head coach of the Cardinals men’s volleyball program. (Story first published at northcentralcardinals.com.)
A former NCAA Division I player with coaching experience at the NCAA Division III, high school and club levels, Exline will spend the 2014-2015 academic year recruiting the team, which will take the court for North Central’s inaugural season in 2016.
“I am honored to be a part of North Central College as we approach our inaugural season,” Exline said. “I want to thank Jim Miller, Vice President for Enrollment Management and Athletics Marty Sauer, President Troy Hammond and the entire Cardinal community for this excellent opportunity to add another successful program to an already established championship tradition.
“This is an impeccable opportunity for growth in our athletic department, North Central College and the volleyball community. This is going to be an exciting and thrilling journey as we prepare for a successful future.”
Exline is currently the head boys’ and girls’ volleyball coach at Argo Community High School in Summit, as well as the assistant club director, master coach and 18-and-under head coach for the D1 Southside Volleyball Club in Palos Heights. He was the beach volleyball league operations manager for the Chicago Sport and Social Club in the summer of 2013.
Exline was a four-year letter winner and three-year team captain for the varsity men’s volleyball program at Loyola University Chicago, 2008-2011, winning the team’s Most Improved Player Award in 2009. The Ramblers posted an overall record of 75-38 in Exline’s tenure with the program, including a 21-8 record and a second-place finish in the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MIVA) in 2011.
He coached as a graduate assistant for the men’s and women’s volleyball teams at Carthage College from 2011 to 2013, assisting with all aspects of both programs. The women’s program qualified for the national semifinals in 2011, and the men’s program advanced to the championship match of the first-ever NCAA Division III Men's Volleyball Championship in 2012.
“Kyle is really a volleyball guy all the way,” Miller said. “He’s played at the highest level collegiately, and he learned everything about Division III inside and out in his time at Carthage. When we interview coaches, the first thing we ask about is the ability to recruit. He’s been a proven recruiter at Carthage and he also has experience coaching in high school and at the club level. His knowledge of recruiting services, club coaches and programs and high school programs is going to be a huge asset.”
“My playing experience in college opened my mind to a lot of different theories and philosophies,” Exline said. “Working at the Division III level, it really helped me understand the student-athlete experience and what it really meant to be a student-athlete, competing in the classroom, competing for jobs and competing on the court. I grew up in the south Chicago area and I have a strong connection with the local high schools and local clubs. My life dream was to start a men’s college program in the Chicagoland area. That was my goal, and I have an opportunity to be able to contribute to the North Central community and the volleyball community as a whole, and prepare student-athletes for life after college.”
Exline’s goals for recruiting North Central’s first team are tapping into a local area which has been rich with talent for several years and seeking student-athletes who will thrive in the College’s academic environment.
“I’m going to recruit young men who fit our community,” he said. “I think that’s very important, finding the right student-athletes with good character.
“The talent is very strong in this area, and it’s going to be nice for parents to be able to watch their sons play close to home. In such a growing sport, I think it’s important to keep players local.”
Exline resides in Oak Lawn. He earned a bachelor’s degree in natural psychology from Loyola in 2011 and a master of education degree with an emphasis in leadership in teaching from Carthage in January.