Fettig steps in as first GVSU dodgeball coach
Club sport has experienced massive recent success
Since its inception in 2005, the Grand Valley State dodgeball club has not once had a head coach to lead the storied program.
This year, all that has changed.
GVSU alumnus and former dodgeball president, assistant captain and standout Dylan Fettig has taken the title as the team’s first official head coach.
“It’s pretty cool. We’ve always talked about getting coaches and we always talked to alumni about being coaches and it’s great to be the first official coach,” Fettig said.
The new skipper is a historic player in GVSU dodgeball history. In his six-year tenure with the Lakers, Fettig made five National Collegiate Dodgeball Association all-star teams, won four national titles and was elected as an All-American three times. Along with individual and club success, he left a mark on the league as a whole, as he helped write the first official rule book.
After moving on from GVSU's graduate school last year, Fettig remained involved with the club by attending and watching matches and practices and, after approval from the club’s higher-ups, he was placed into the volunteer coaching position.
The players are on board with the new hire and are excited to reap the benefits that come with having a coach.
“In the past it’s always been the captains that act as basically the coach, and of course they’re always in the game, so now we have someone on the sideline who gets a spectator's view from outside the court. He has that view that he can bring in and tell us what we can do better. It will definitely help us increase our skill as time moves on,” said club president Logan Rohloff.
Team captain Kevin Bailey also was thrilled about the addition.
“We’re definitely optimistic about it because we know we’re going to have a much more sound strategy during games," Bailey said. "He has a lot of experience from being on the team. He’s definitely going to bring a lot of experience and knowledge of the game and that’ll help a lot with our young team.
"It’s going to really help having him to teach our younger players about the game. It’s not like basketball where they’ve been playing their whole lives and then they just come here and do it again.”
Players also cite his leadership abilities from acting as president and assistant captain as keys to help the team.
Fettig has a tall task ahead of him this year as nearly half the club is made up of first-year competitors. That's not so say, however, that he's dampening any expectations for the Lakers.
“We always expect a national championship. The first step is going to be the Michigan Dodgeball Cup on (Feb. 27) and that’s usually a good indication of where we’re at. We’ll hope to build on that for the national tournament.”
As for off-the-court success, Fettig hopes to help the program as a whole grow and build on its back-to-back-to-back national championships.
In recent years, recruiting hasn’t been much of a priority, as the team relied solely on Campus Life Night to bring in fresh arms. Now, the Lakers will look to begin expanding upon that method and finding even more talent by traveling around the freshman dorms, handing out fliers and hosting social media events.
As for the longevity of Fettig’s position, he knows exactly how long he wants to be at GVSU.
“Probably as long as I’m in Grand Rapids," he said. "I’m looking for a big-kid job and working on a house that I bought so as long as I’m here I plan on being a part of the club.”
Fettig will make his official head coaching debut on Feb. 27 at the Michigan Dodgeball Cup at Michigan State University.