READING, Ohio — Mount Notre Dame volleyball coach Chris Lovett announced Tuesday afternoon he and assistant coach Joe Burke have stepped down from the program in order to spend more time with their families.
"We could not be more thankful for the time and effort Chris and Joe dedicated to the Mount Notre Dame volleyball program throughout the years," MND athletic director Mark Schenkel told WCPO. "Their impact was reflected not only by the success on the court but by the development of student-athletes off the court. We wish them well as they direct their time toward other areas of their lives."
Lovett and Burke have coached within the MND program together since 2009.
"Joe and I sat down with Mark Schenkel back in May of 2020 to inform him that this past season would be our last no matter what the season looked like," Lovett said. "Looking back on the season, I believe that it was meant to be. We were meant to be together one last time, for us to face adversity together as a Mount Notre Dame volleyball family."
This past season was the 10th state volleyball title for MND (2020, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2011, 2006, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1995).
"We are honored to be a part of the MND volleyball program and privileged to call so many people family," Lovett said. "As so many of you know, without our personal families’ support, none of this would have been possible and it is time for us to return that support in full.
"We want to thank our families, the MND athletic department and administration, our trainer (Rebecca) Lemmel and most importantly the players and parents of MND volleyball, past and present. MND volleyball has never been about one player, parent or one coach. It is about the program as a whole and the traditions that are passed down from player to player and parent to parent. That is why MND volleyball has become the winningest volleyball program in Ohio."
Lovett, an Over-the-Rhine resident, and Burke, a Mason resident, met with the MND volleyball program after school on Tuesday to inform them of the decision.
"It's a special place, and I'm certainly going to miss it," Burke said. "But, like I told the girls, I wouldn't be surprised to see me sitting in the stands watching and certainly being there for anything they need as well."
Lovett said he won't soon forget his time with the program. He sent a letter to families of MND players to make sure they knew.
"I'm just proud of knowing that we've always done it right," Lovett said. "We've always done it the MND volleyball way."
The Cougars had to persevere through adversity in the 2020 season on their state championship journey. In September, they got a double-header of hardship in the space of 24 hours.
Mount Notre Dame senior Anna Currin's brother, former Moeller basketball standout Michael Currin, died in Dayton.
Another MND senior had a severe asthma attack in which she needed emergency services and spent a few days at Children's Hospital.
"It just reminds me that everything happens for a reason," Lovett said. "I truly believe that we were meant to be with the girls this season and they were meant to be with us; and we were meant to go through this together as a family. It's surreal."
The school says there will be an open application process for the head coaching position. All resumes are due to assistant athletic director Keith Schenkel (email@example.com) by Feb. 1.
A selection committee is being formed for the interview process and all information regarding the future hire will originate from the athletic office.
"The thing that I will carry on — the wins are great and everything — but it's the relationships that we form," Burke said. "The way that the girls commit to the program. They truly want the program to be better."