NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Billy Ebel has made quite the impression in the world of collegiate volleyball.
He has received a number of accolades from several volleyball groups. Offers have been extended. But the one he took came from the office next door to him from Lipscomb head volleyball coach Brandon Rosenthal. Ebel, who has spent the past three seasons as an assistant coach with Lipscomb, is now the volleyball program’s first associate head coach.
“Billy has been courted by a lot of programs year-after-year,” Lipscomb head coach Brandon Rosenthal said in making the official announcement. “I have one of the best young assistant coaches in the country.
“I have no problem saying that. It is unbelievable what he has been doing for us. He has stepped up his game since he has been here.”
Ebel, 28, was not expecting such a promotion, but he is happy to continue his career at Lipscomb.
“When Brandon approached me about being the associate head coach I was surprised,” Ebel said. “I think he wanted to keep me at Lipscomb. I was excited. I was anxious. But I also knew it was a great opportunity.
“I have had phone calls from people wondering when I might be moving on. Brandon gave me the opportunity to be here in the first place. He has really helped me grow as a coach. I owe a lot to him. I have found a home here at Lipscomb.”
Ebel, a former member and team captain of the Ball State men’s volleyball team, likes what he has seen at Lipscomb and is certain the best is still ahead.
“We do things different here at Lipscomb,” Ebel said. “This really is a special place, especially with our volleyball program being so successful the last couple of years.
“One of the reasons I wanted to stay is because I think this program still has a ways to go in terms of what we want to accomplish on the national level.”
The family atmosphere surrounding the volleyball team is often cited by observers, but Ebel stresses the program’s success goes beyond that aspect of the team.
“I think our expectations are high,” Ebel said. “We definitely put a lot of emphasis on the family aspect because we recruit really good people to be at Lipscomb.
“I am their life coach as well as a volleyball coach. These are important years. If I can help them make it to the next step my job has been a success. Also winning championships along the way is nice as well.”
Ebel points to the emphasis on hard work both on and off the court as one of the keys to the program’s success.
“The culture here is the biggest thing,” Ebel said. “It is an aggressive, competitive culture. Kids want to work really hard in this culture but we also push them hard. I definitely think we have all paid our dues. I know Brandon has.
“I knew the history of the program when I came here. The biggest thing is I have seen the program change in a lot of different ways. Hiring a second assistant full time has been huge. Being able to go out and recruit where we need to go has been huge as well. We have been more aggressive on bigger kids and kids getting offers at other places.”
Ebel has always had a passion for the sport of volleyball and Rosenthal lets him emphasize the areas where his talents are the strongest.
“Coaching is an outlet for me to give players the opportunity to play NCAA Division I," Ebel said. “Brandon found out my passions were recruiting and training. I like building relationships.
“Two of the biggest things I bring to the team are my fire and energy. The girls see how hard I want to work for them. Then they want to work hard for me. We have a tough, gritty group.”
Rosenthal has built a program with impressive accomplishments and continues to build on those successes season after season. Ebel has found it a learning experience to work for Rosenthal.
“He has taught me what is important and the need to pay attention to detail,” Ebel said. “We pride ourselves on how hard we work. This job doesn’t stop. Every day there are new challenges. It is a 24- hour, seven days a week job.
“We are the exact same personality type, but we balance each other out. We get along great. I know he trusts me in the gym. In recruiting he is my closer. He is the one who is going to nail it down.”