Surry hires Gilley as new volleyball coach

Caleb Gilley

Surry Athletic Director Mark Tucker is a lifelong baseball guy, so pardon his exuberance when he describes the college’s new volleyball coach as “a home run hire.”

On Wednesday, Surry Community College announced the hiring of East Surry volleyball coach Caleb Gilley to replace Jan Marion-Kiser, who resigned from the post earlier this month. Gilley will make the cross-county trek from Pilot Mountain to Dobson with impeccable credentials, having just led the Cardinals to the Class 1A State Championship game, the second time he has guided East Surry to a state title game appearance in his nine seasons at the school.

During those nine years, East Surry has won six Northwest 1A Conference championships, including four in a row. He’s also been named the Northwest Conference Coach of the Year six times in those nine seasons. Additionally, Gilley guided the Lady Cardinals’ basketball program to the 1A State title game in March.

“Coach Gilley is going to be a tremendous asset to Surry and our athletic program. We are ecstatic to have him as our head volleyball coach. He brings a passion for volleyball and helping student-athletes improve and advance, both academically and athletically,” Tucker said. “Coach Gilley has a wealth of head coaching experience and established an incredible culture while at East Surry. We feel that he will bring that same positive energy and tremendous work ethic to Surry. He will do an outstanding job in all areas of our volleyball program.”

Leaving East Surry was not easy for Gilley, a 2006 graduate of the school. At the same time, he is excited about the opportunity to take an already strong SCC volleyball program to new heights.

“Leaving East Surry was definitely a tough decision. That was the school I went to, so it’s not just a school, it’s almost a home to me,” Gilley said Wednesday. “The people there are fantastic. The players I have had over the last nine years, the players we had this year, they are great kids and it was hard to leave them, but I’m also excited about this opportunity at Surry. I think this area is such a talent-rich area that I think Surry can be just a dominant force at the JUCO level.”

Gilley certainly checks all the boxes the Knights’ volleyball program was looking for in a new head coach. Not only has he had tremendous success over an extended period of time at the high school level, he’s developed a ton of contacts in the region through the Club Volleyball circuit as coach of the Twin City Volleyball Academy out of Winston-Salem. Those contacts, combined with Gilley’s success, stand to make Surry a strong player in recruiting circles.

“You start I think with your home kids, and that is Surry, Yadkin, Stokes, Wilkes and Forsyth, and then you just add on to that and reach out to kids who maybe aren’t right here in the county, but are talented and haven’t been picked up,” said Gilley, who admits to being excited about the recruiting aspect of his new gig. “I think (my coaching philosophy) is going to change a little just for the simple fact that in high school you don’t get to choose who your kids are, so you have to adapt every single year to what is in the building. But at the college level you get to choose because you recruit. Now I can kind of recruit the type of kid I want versus having to adjust.”


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