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Since the club started, we have been committed to slow and controlled growth. At the most, the club has had 13 teams in a season and typically we run between 11-12 teams.  Our policy is to never add teams unless we are 100% confident we have a great coach to match our philosophy and is experience.   We provide every coach with a full 12 page club manual outlining our philosophy, rules, and procedures. Which most find to be more stringent than the USAV or OVR.  We demand that to be a head coach at Buckeyefire, you must have had a head coaching position prior, and/or been an assistant coach IN OUR CLUB, under our philosophy for 2 years or more.  Only the most impressive of coaches can be considered outside of those important guidelines.  In other words, top coaching depicts the size of our club, not profit.

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STAFF & COACHES

Interested in Coaching?

ARE YOU AN EXPERIENCED COACH WHO BELIEVES IN POSITIVE COACHING AND CONFIDENCE BUILDING?  ARE YOU LOOKING FOR A GREAT CLUB EXPERIENCE WITH A SUPER RESPONSIVE AND ORGANIZED ADMINISTRATION? 

CONTACT US TODAY AT STAFFBFVB@GMAIL.COM

Grant Roberts

CLUB DIRECTOR
18R CROSSFIRE HEAD COACH

GRANT ROBERTS

Coaching Experience:

  • Buckeyefire Head Coach and Club Director - 19 years

  • Travel Softball Coach - 4 years

  • CYO Volleyball & Basketball Head Coach - 2 years

  • Recreational Tee Ball/Baseball Coach - 2 years

Additional Education/Certification:

  • Impact, Safesport, Concussion, USAV Official, Background Clear

More about this coach:

Grant has spent most of his adult life dedicated to coaching and raising female athletes and mentoring young, up and coming coaches. He has a high energy, confidence building, positive approach to coaching that focuses on life lessons through volleyball. Over many years he has placed many players into college scholarships and remains a mentor to many of his alum players who now are very successfully contributing to society and their very own families. He carries this philosophy throughout the club and has no immediate plans for retirement. Grant and his wife Karen are celebrating his 36th wedding anniversary and are the proud parents of two successful adult children (Grant and Meagan).

John Smoleny

CLUB TEAM LEADER
18R CROSSFIRE ASSISTANT COACH

JOHN SMOLENY

Coaching Experience:

  • Buckeyefire Head Coach - 17 years

  • Nordoina HS Varsity Assistant - 5 years

Additional Education/Certification:

  • Impact, Safesport, USAV Official, Official Referee, Assistant Director

More about this coach:

John is one of the clubs most beloved coaches!  He not only has a super positive approach but is easily our most animated and enthusiastic coaches on the side lines.  His years of experience has contributed so much to so many successful young ladies.   John knows the game, and he knows the kids.  You can’t ask for more than that.

John has been married to Paula for 37 years and they have two successful adult daughters (Katie and Angela) whom he is very proud of, along with his first grandson and dog Gracie!  He is just another example of commitment in our club where you’ll find this type of stability and longtime relationships throughout!

Kayla Bohus

DIGITAL MEDIA COORDINATOR
17A RAPIDFIRE HEAD COACH

KAYLA BOHUSLAWSKY

Playing Experience:

  • CYO Volleyball - 5 years

  • Brecksville-Broadview Heights HS Volleyball - 2 years

  • JO volleyball at MCVBC & AVC - 3 years

  • Ashland University Club Volleyball -         2 years

Coaching Experience:

  • 2022 Head Freshman Coach - Nordonia HS

  • 2023 Head JV Coach - Nordonia HS

  • Buckeyefire Head and Assistant Coach - 1 year

Volleyball Related Experience:

  • Volleyball trainer at Sharpen Skills Training

Additional Education/Certification:

  • Impact, Safesport, Concussion, CPR/First Aid, USAV Official, Registered Athletic Administrator (RAA)

  • Bachelor's degree in Sport Industry - The Ohio State University

  • Master's degree in Sport Administration - University of Cincinnati

More about this coach:

Kayla will forever keep volleyball an important part of her life. With it being her most favorite sport, coaching has always been something she looked forward to as a player. She has over 10 years of playing expereince with different coaches that gave her a love for the sport. Her coaching style is focused on the skill-development and confidence of her players. Kayla's coaching philosophy is that hard work and supportive teammates creates the best team. Playing volleyball were some of the best years of her life and she hopes to share the same experiences she had with her own players.

Brian McKnight

16N RETROFIRE HEAD COACH

BRIAN MCKNIGHT

Playing Experience:

  • CVCA HS Volleyball Setter - 3 years

  • USVBA Club Setter - 6 years

Coaching Experience:

  • CVCA Varsity Volleyball Head Coach - 9 years

  • Buckeyefire Head Coach - 8 years

Volleyball Related Experience:

  • High School Referee - 3 years

  • JO Skills & Development Camp - 3 years

  • JO one-on-one Skill Development - 12 years

Additional Education/Certification:

  • Impact, Safesport, Coaching Fundamentals (NFHS), USAV Official, 

  • Bachelor's degree in Business Management - Kent State University

More about this coach:

Brian is married (29 years) with 3 daughters and 2 granddaughters. When he is not coaching volleyball, he loves spending time with his family and friends. Brian also enjoys playing video games when he needs to let of some steam. He has worked at his current company for 32 years and has been in a management role for 22 of the 32 years. Brian believes that his leadership skills taught through work have made him a better coach and that his coaching skills have made him a better leader at work. He doesn't expect to coach perfect athletes or have them play perfect games, only to always give perfect effort.

Betsy Smerglia

14N DRAGONFIRE ASSISTANT COACH

BETSY SMERGLIA

Coaching Experience:

  • Maple Heights HS Varsity Volleyball Head Coach

    • ​11 League Championships

  • JO Head Coach for LEVA, Eastside, PVC, AVC, and NOVA

  • Buckeyefire Assistant Coach - 5 years

Additional Education/Certification:

  • Impact, Safesport, USAV Official

More about this coach:

Betsy brings 30 years of Varsity coaching experience and many of her players have gone on to play in college. As a retired Health and Physical Education school teacher of 35 years, Betsy brings a wealth of teaching and coaching experience to Buckeyefire. She has been with Buckeyefire for 5 years.

Holly Vertock

15A WILDFIRE HEAD COACH

HOLLY VERTOCK

Coaching Experience:

  • Streetsboro HS Varsity Volleyball Head Coach - 1 year

  • Hudson HS JV Volleyball Head Coach - 3 years

  • Nordonia HS JV Volleyball Head Coach - 8 years

  • Buckeyefire Head Coach - 12 years

Additional Education/Certification:

  • Impact, Safesport, USAV Official

More about this coach:

Holly has been with Buckeyefire for 12 years and considers the club to be family. She says Buckeyefire has supported her through the birth of her now 8 year old twins and always makes sure family comes first. Throughout her 12 years of coaching and being a working mom, she says, the club has supported her every step of the way and club is devoted to doing what’s right and stands by their coaches and players. Holly's coaching philosophy is simple; "I believe a positive environment is crucial for players; mistakes happen but it’s how we move forward and figure out how to make it better the next time. We lose as a team and win as a team, coach included. I believe in building relationship with players in a positive and trustworthy way. Positive relationships with players has results in many previous players moving on and becoming my assistant coach." Over the years Holly has had multiple assistant coaches; all of which have played for her in the past.

Gianna Disalvatore

13A SAFIRE HEAD COACH

GIANNA DISALVATORE

Buckeyefire logo

Playing Experience:

  • 5 years playing at Buckeyefire

  • 3 years at Nordonia MS/HS

Coaching Experience:

  • Cleveland Eastide Juniors Head Coach - 1 year

  • Buckeyefire Head Coach - 1 year

Additional Education/Certification:

  • Impact, Safesport, USAV Official

  • Currently working toward a Bachelor's degree in Psychology at Kent State University

More about this coach:

Gianna is currently a Senior at Kent State University and on her way to graduate with a Bachelor's degree in psychology. She started playing volleyball at a very young age because both her parents and sisters played. Gianna played JO for about 5 years and only ever played at Buckeyefire! She has met so many friends and built so many strong relationships throughout the years. She says that Buckeyefire has always had the best and most caring coaches. Because she was coached by the best it makes her want to continue that cycle and give back to the club and to help other young girls to have an amazing experience like she did.

Erica Kutchin

15A WILDFIRE ASSISTANT COACH

ERICA KUTCHIN

Buckeyefire logo

Playing Experience:

  • JO Volleyball at Ignite & Buckeyefire -      6 years total

  • Hudson HS Varsity Volleyball - 4 years

  • Ursuline College Volleyball Team - 1 year

  • Kent State Club Volleyball - 1 year

Coaching Experience:

  • Streetsboro HS Assistant Volleyball Coach

  • Buckeyefire Assistant Coach - 1 year

Additional Education/Certification:

  • Currently working toward a Bachelor's degree in Nursing at Kent State University

More about this coach:

Erica is currently a student at Kent State University working towards her BSN (Bachelors of Science in Nursing). In addition she has become a part of the Club Volleyball Program at Kent. Erica is newer to coaching, but has quickly began to love it. Volleyball has always been an integral part of her life. She was a 4 year varsity player at Hudson High School, a 6-rotation outside hitter, as well as team captain. She grew up playing for Buckeyefire and loves the volleyball family it gave her. Her first season coaching was amazing, and she is excited to be apart of the Buckeyefire tradition.

Dave Watroba

FINANCE DIRECTOR

DAVE WATROBA

Coaching Experience:

  • Buckeyefire Assistant Club Director 2007

  • Buckeyefire Assistant Coach for over 12 years

Additional Education/Certification:

  • Impact, Safesport, Concussion, USAV Official, Background Clear, Certified OHSAA Official

More about this coach:

Dave is the nuts and bolts guy of the club running the everyday finances and organizing all our logistical tasks. Dave works closely with Alexis to keep our club ahead of the curve by booking and ordering ahead of most other clubs. He also leads all accounts payable and recievable for the club so any questions regarding invoices or payments should be directed to Dave. If you are looking for detail, Dave is your guy! Dave had three of his kids play for Buckeyefire (Kelsey and Riley). Dave is married to his wife Kim and they have been married for over 30 years.

Alexis Perney

16A SPARKFIRE HEAD COACH

TRAVEL & EVENTS COORDINATOR

ALEXIS PERNEY

Buckeyefire logo

Playing Experience:

  • Age 14-18 Buckeyefire Volleyball American Teams

  • Nordonia MS/HS (6 years) 2 year starting Varsity Libero

  • The Ohio State University (2 years) Club

Coaching Experience:

  • 3 years Freshman Volleyball Head Coach at Lakewood High School

  • 2 years Head Coach at Advancement Academy (Columbus, OH)

  • 3 years at Buckeyefire - Head Coach

Volleyball Related Experience:

  • General Manager and Trainer at Sharpen Skills Training

  • Certified USAV/Ohio Valley Region Refereeing Official

Additional Education/Certification:

  • Impact, Safesport, USAV Official, Concussion, Certified Personal Trainer

  • Bachelor's degree in Exercise Science - The Ohio State University 

  • Master’s degree in Exercise Science - Ashland University

More about this coach:

The first thing you will notice with Alexis is she has gathered so much experience through both volleyball related positions and her education. She carries the perfect balance of sports discipline along with a highly positive coaching style that matches our confidence building philosophy. Her management style and ability to organize and communicate makes her an asset to both the club and her team! When Alexis is not coaching volleyball she is managing an Athlete Training facility in Brunswick, OH.

Tim Vasko

17N MAXFIRE HEAD COACH

TIM VASKO

Bill Smerglia

14N DRAGONFIRE HEAD COACH

BILL SMERGLIA

Coaching Experience:

  • JO Head Coach for LEVA, AVC, & NOVA - 8 years

    • OVR Champions - 2 American Teams

  • High School Head Coach for NDCL, Kenston, Laurel, Field, & Streetsboro - 18 years with 260 wins

  • Buckeyefire Head Coach - 5 years

Volleyball Related Experience:

  • 4 time Coach of the Year - Streetsboro

  • 2022 Streetsboro Coach Hall of Fame

Additional Education/Certification:

  • Impact, Safesport, USAV Official

More about this coach:

As a retired School Psychologist and High School Counselor, Bill believes it is important to teach his players the power of an effective mental approach to the game. This complements his emphasis of continually researching and implementing the best methods for developing the skills and conditioning necessary to be successful for playing volleyball.

Bill and Betsy have been married for 45 years and have been enjoying the first 8 plus years of their retirement. They have never had any children of their own, but have enjoyed immensely the thousands of young people and their families with whom they have had relationships. They have both been coaches with Buckeyefire for 5 years.

Connie Perney

14A SPITFIRE HEAD COACH

CONNIE PERNEY

Coaching Experience:

  • Nordonia MS Volleyball Head Coach - 10 years

  • St. Barnabas CYO Volleyball Head Coach - 9 years
  • St. John Vianney CYO Volleyball Head Coach - 3 years

  • Buckeyefire Head Coach - 9 years

Additional Education/Certification:

  • Impact, Safesport, USAV Official

More about this coach:

Connie has been Mrs. Reliable for nearly 10 years with our club. If Connie is leading your team she will super organized, always on time, and she doesn’t miss. She’s also a great teacher! Connie has led our younger teams over the years and produced some amazing players that went on to anchor our older teams. Connie is one of the few coaches in the area that carries all the current certifications but also is CAP 1 certified.   She’s another of our coaches married over 30 years (Tom) and she’s brought up three very successful daughters through the club and volleyball (Alexis, Andera and Aricka all played in the club, for Nordonia, and Alexis is a great head coach for us today).Connie is definitely a huge part of our success.

Alanna

15A SUREFIRE HEAD COACH

ALANNA RAMSEY

Playing Experience:

  • Revere HS Varsity Volleyball - 4 years

  • JO Volleyball at AVC and CVC - 3 years

  • Tiffin University Volleyball Team - 1 year

  • Cleveland State University Club Volleyball - 2 years

Coaching Experience:

  • Revere HS JV Volleyball Head Coach -   2 years

  • 2023 Revere HS Varsity Volleyball Head Coach

  • Buckeyefire Assistant Coach - 2 years

Additional Education/Certification:

  • Impact, Safesport, USAV Official, Certified Referee

More about this coach:

Alanna has played/been around volleyball ever since she could walk. Her whole entire family, including aunts and uncles, played back in the day. Volleyball is her absolute favorite thing on the planet and she has learned to really love coaching after being a player for so long. It is difficult to find her not going crazy on the sideline with excitement during games as she really gets into coaching her players and motivating them. Alanna aims to give players a new, important perspective on the sport of volleyball that includes not only teaching them the sport and how to be good teammates, but also important lessons they can take off the court as well.

Alysa_edited.jpg

18R REDFIRE HEAD COACH

ALYSA THUR

Playing Experience:

  • CYO volleyball - 5 years

  • HIgh School Volleyball - Brecksville Broadview Heights High School 4 years 

  • JO Volleyball - AVC 4 years 

  • Bowling Green State University - club sports 1 year

Coaching Experience:

  • Buckeyefire Volleyball - 1 year assistant for 16s and 17s American teams

Additional Education/Certification:

  • Impact, Safesport, Concussion, CPR First Aid, USAV Official Certified 

More about this coach:

Volleyball and athletics has always been a passion of mine. I started playing volleyball in 4th grade and love to incorporate it into my adult life. Even with a busy 9-5 life, I still find time for a life-long hobby I love. My coaching style is very analytical, you will always see me with a clipboard or iPad to take stats, unfortunately, there is a method to the madness! I am very competitive and love to accomplish my goals as well as help others achieve theirs. This season (2024) will be my first season being a head coach and I could not be more excited. My goal is to be a top 10 team in the OVR! I plan to have full transparency with my players, parents, and other coaches at Buckeyefire. 

Maggie Bradley

17N MAXFIRE ASSISTANT COACH

MAGGIE BRADLEY

Buckeyefire logo

Playing Experience:

  • Aurora HS Volleyball Team - 4 years

  • JO at Buckeyefire - 6 years

  • Ursuline College Volleyball Team - 2 years

Coaching Experience:

  • Streetsboro HS JV Volleyball Head Coach

  • Buckeyefire Assistant Coach - 2 years

  • Ignite Volleyball Club Private Lessons -   2 years

Additional Education/Certification:

  • Impact, Safesport, USAV Official

More about this coach:

Currently, Maggie is studying Sports Administration and hopes to open her very own volleyball club one day. Ever since she tried out for Buckeyefire when she was 13 years old, she has never looked back. The club is like family to her and she does not plan on leaving it in the past anytime time soon.

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