THE HISTORY OF BUCKEYEFIRE
A long history of positive atmosphere and results.
The story of a club that started for all the wrong reasons with a purpose to making it all right!
It was the fall of 2004, when I was approached by 2 Moms of Nordonia 8th grade volleyball players. My daughter played on the 7th grade volleyball team at the time. These Moms explained to me that the kids "HAVE TO PLAY JO" volleyball if we want to have a successful program at Nordonia in the coming years. I had never heard of JO but I knew I would do what it takes to make sure my daughter had her chance growing in volleyball. So I began looking into the “JO” thing.
The Moms explained that they had formed a JO team and would be willing to form one more for our kids. They knew a Dad of a volleyball player who wanted to coach the team and sponsor it. So we jumped right in with my daughter and two more up and coming Nordonia players.
It didn’t take long though for parents to become very uncomfortable with the head coach, which led to myself and another Dad staying to observe practices. At that point, myself and another Dad agreed to be assistant coaches of the team as parents were becoming more unsettled about the head coach and there being no assistant. Needless to say, the writing was on the wall and the situation worsened. After the second tournament, parents grew very uncomfortable, as did the players. They were insistent that the coach should be fired. The OVR came to our gym and met with everyone involved, explaining the process and told the coach, he could be removed. All parents were at the meeting. The head coach said he would leave, and leave us the balls/cart, ‘IF’ every parent in that gym wrote him another substantial check (they had already paid for the season). Well, they did… on the spot and he left, which was the last time we ever had to associate with him.
This left myself and another Dad to coach our very first volleyball team. While the kids were great and the parents were great, it was a challenging season to say the least. Still, we got through it and had a second season as well. In fact, we had met two Dads (Dave and John) from Saint Barnabas who were assistant coaches for a JO team called the ‘Blazers’.
We developed a pretty good bond throughout that season while playing each other and though they were beating us handedly and often, they had a liking for us and for many of our kids. They felt bad we didn’t experience more success. This led to adding a third team to the club. The next season is where we officially changed the name of the club to Buckeye of Nordonia. This was a much better season and the teams were all very successful. Our first team with some of our favorite Moms, who got this all started, was named Safire. When we took over the second team we decided to call it Redfire. When my two dear friends, who run the club with me today (Dave an John), came on board, they named their team Crossfire. The rest is history! We then officially became BUCKEYEFIRE! Much later we had to incorporate as Three Amigo Sports, LLC DBA, Buckeyefire Volleyball. A very fitting name we thought.
Every year we got attention from other clubs commenting on how positive and successful we were as a small club. More importantly, we were adding coaches who had the same positive philosophy as we did and would treat our kids and families as if they were their own. It truly was amazing how this came together and I never had to worry about my kids or my coaches again, the way we worried when we first started.
Buckeyefire eventually grew to 12 teams and we all decided at that point we did not want to be bigger than that. We were happy knowing all the kids, the families, and our coaches. Not only as patrons and employees but as friends. That still remains true today and I’m so proud to have a staff that not only coaches together, but they go out together, play together, and truly are bonded. We have a group with no egos, which means the kids are truly first. We trust each other without waiver and we offer a very diverse development for our kids.
I have my closest friends Dave and John to thank, but also an entire staff of amazing adults who care as much as I do. Most of them have been here for 10 years or more! I would be remiss if I didn’t thank Renee and Julie, who dragged my butt into this all and created the path for such a great history. I hope we are all here another 10 years and can continue this tradition through the many young ladies who played here, went on to play in college, graduated with degrees, and continue to return to coach here. Nothing says ‘family’ more than that! It all just works and I wouldn’t change a thing!
-Grant Roberts (Club Director)