Local product Nye is succeeding as BC’s coach, which isn’t a surprise

PHOTO BY PAT GAIETTO Buckeye Central volleyball coach Jackie Nye yells instructions to her team in the Division IV regional final against Carey Saturday at Elida.

Cindy Walerius didn’t say it, but when she coached Jackie Nye, she was working with a kindred spirit.

Walerius, then the New Riegel volleyball coach, knew that Nye was talented. But there was something else about her that stood out.

“She gave everything she had,” Walerius said. “She wanted to win whatever you were doing.”

It was similar to Walerius’ approach. And Walerius saw Nye’s drive.

“You either have it or you don’t, that competitiveness and that drive,” Walerius said. “Jackie had it, and I knew she had it, and I pushed her, and I knew she could handle it because she’s just like me.”

A few years later, Nye was recruited by another ultra-competitive coach — Heidelberg’s Jason Miller.

“She was a competitor, just, back in the day she was a competitor,” Miller said. “It didn’t matter whatever sport she was playing, whether that was basketball, volleyball, softball, whatever. She just was a competitor. She was a kid that wanted to win, and just figured out ways to win.”

Nye was an all-state volleyball selection in 2007. She joined Heidelberg the next season. She went on to be a Division III All-American.

“She changed kids’ mindsets, she changed people’s attitudes about what it took to win.” Miller said.

Now, Nye is doing the same thing as the head coach at Buckeye Central High School. Nye, in her third season as coach, leads the Bucks into the Division IV semifinals against New Bremen in Dayton today.

Even though she was a team leader, Nye said she didn’t really consider getting into coaching until she was at HU.

“Not until the end of my college career, when I started coaching club volleyball,” Nye said. “From coaching and officiating … I decided I’d rather coach then officiate.”

The 2012 season was Nye’s final one as a college player. The next year, she served as Miller’s graduate assistant.

Nye said it was a learning experience.

“From a coaching standpoint, you don’t realize how many things go into developing a practice,” she said. “I did all the scouting reports.”

“For her, it was really the first time in her career that she was on this side of the bench,” Miller said. “Before, she just played, and did what she was told, and a lot of the success was just common sense success for her. I think (as a GA) it really helped her break down the game even further. The mental side of the game, it came naturally to her when she was out there playing … but that’s something not everybody gets.”

Now, Nye is able to draw on what she learned from her coaches. She said Walerius knew how to get the best out of her players.

“She was one of most motivational coaches i’ve ever had,” Nye said. “She was as competitive as I was, her goal was to win every match.

“She was a coach who kept us grounded but kept us pushing,” Nye said of Walerius.

Nye said she learned new techniques in the college game. And Miller said the two stay in touch. He said he’s impressed with her coaching.

“She’s certainly done a great job in a short period,” Miller said. “Hey, let’s face it. If anyone watches Jenna Karl play, that makes you look really smart as a coach, too, right?”

Miller laughed, and said he’s very proud of what Nye has accomplished.

“I couldn’t be more happy for her,” Miller said. “As a former player of mine, someone who I’ve mentored through the years — we still work hand-in-hand, I get to work with her and her kids for a few days over the summer — very proud of what she’s accomplished. For someone who’s as young in their career, what a great testament to who she is.”

Walerius said the same.

“I kind of hoped (she’d get into coaching) because of her competitiveness,” Walerius said. “I think she can pass that on to her players, and I’m sure she has, I’m glad she got into coaching.

“I was just so thrilled and so happy for her,” Walerius said. “I hope she does well.”

Nye has done well. But she admits she gets more nervous before matches she coaches than she did for the ones she played.

“It’s harder as a coach,” Nye said. “As a player, it was fun, exciting to play, I’m definitely more nervous as a coach because I’ve felt like I didn’t have as much control of the situation.”

Then again, going 26-1 — the Bucks’ record in 2017 — has a way of relieving that stress.