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Beechwood High School names Jay Volker as its new head football coach

Tigers have won three consecutive Class 2A state titles
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Posted at 9:27 AM, Mar 16, 2023

FORT MITCHELL, Ky. — Beechwood High School named Jay Volker as its new head football coach Thursday morning.

Volker succeeds former longtime Beechwood coach Noel Rash who announced in February his retirement from the position after 17 seasons as head coach.

Beechwood won its third consecutive Kentucky Class 2A state title this past December. The Tigers won 200 games and eight state championships since Rash took over as head coach in 2006.

In nearly a half century of football in Fort Mitchell, Volker will be only the fourth head coach to oversee the Beechwood program, taking the torch from Bernie Barre (1975-1990), Mike Yeagle (1991-2005), and Noel Rash, who wore the visor for 17 seasons (2006-2022).

The Tigers have won 17 Kentucky High School Athletic Association state championships under Barre, Yeagle and Rash and have established a tradition of excellence both on and off the gridiron.

“I am excited, honored, and incredibly humbled to be the next head coach at Beechwood, because it is a top-tier school both athletically and academically,” Volker said in a statement. “You look back at nearly 50 years of Beechwood football, and three head coaches have been here. They’ve thrived and loved it. It tells you all you need to know about how special this place is and I can’t wait to get started.”

Volker was the Talawanda High School head coach the past two seasons in Oxford, Ohio, after successful stints as an assistant in the greater Cincinnati area. Talawanda had a 3-16 record the past two seasons.

A Cincinnati native, Volker played in the highly-competitive Greater Catholic League (GCL) as a team captain for both the football and track and field programs at Elder High School.

After graduating from Elder in 2008, Volker stayed close to home and played college football for Thomas More University, where he was a three-year team captain for the Saints. After college, Volker embarked on a career in teaching and coaching.

Volker served as an assistant coach at Kings High School during the 2019 and 2020 seasons, and as the defensive coordinator at Moeller High School during the 2018 campaign. The Crusaders won an outright GCL South championship that season and Volker mentored six players that landed first team all-conference honors.

From 2015-2017, Volker served as associate head coach in a program that won back-to-back Ohio Division II state championships at La Salle High School.

“Jay Volker carries himself with a polished and professional presence that can only come from experience," Beechwood principal Justin Kaiser said in a statement. "He not only learned excellence, but lived it at Kings, La Salle, Moeller, and during his playing days at Elder High School. What resonated most was his passion to grow our student athletes into men through a brotherhood you can only find at Beechwood.”

Former La Salle head coach Jim Hilvert, now at Baldwin-Wallace University, coached Volker at Thomas More University.

“Jay is a great leader of men," Hilvert said. "He’s a relentless worker and a coach that will carry on the winning tradition at Beechwood."

Volker has also worked alongside some of the bright football minds in Division I college football. Volker got his start in coaching as an assistant at Georgia State University from 2013-2015, where one of his colleagues on the coaching staff was Jesse Minter, who is the University of Michigan defensive coordinator.

“Jay is a very relentless and very passionate coach that cares deeply about all of his players," Minter said in a news release. "He’s the most football-hungry person I’ve ever been around."

Coaching and football also run in the Volker family. Volker’s brother, P.J., is the defensive coordinator at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.

“I’m excited for Jay and Beechwood," P.J. Volker said in a statement. "This is a perfect match. Beechwood High School is getting a passionate coach committed to developing players on and off the field.”

Jay Volker graduated from Thomas More University in 2008 with a B.A. in biology. He earned a Master of Education in Educational Leadership from the American College of Education in 2022. He and his wife, Erika, welcomed their first child, a daughter named MacKenzie, three months ago.

Kaiser anticipates excellent days ahead in the next chapter of Beechwood football.

“From ‘Pride, Brotherhood and Unity’, the moniker of the 1990s, to ‘Commitment, Sacrifice and Brotherhood’ of the 2000s, I am truly excited to see what this next generation of football brotherhood grows into under Coach Volker’s leadership,” Kaiser said. “This is a great day."

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