Auburn High School welcomes renowned Volleyball Coach Brian Wheatley

AUBURN, Ala. (WRBL) – Auburn High School has appointed renowned American Volleyball Coaches Association’s current National Coach of the Year, Brian Wheatley, as their next head volleyball coach.

Coach Wheatley will transition from Venice High School in Venice, Florida, where he has coached for 30 years. Wheatley’s coaching journey began at Venice after graduating from Auburn University in 1994. During his tenure, Venice Volleyball has reached the playoffs 29 times out of 30 years, securing six State Championships, making 13 appearances in the Final Four, and finishing in the top 20 nationally ten times. Additionally, 97 players from Wheatley’s Venice teams have signed with colleges to compete as collegiate volleyball players, with over 20 becoming coaches themselves. In 2023, Max Preps recognized Venice High School as one of the Top 100 Volleyball Dynasties in America.

Superintendent Dr. Cristen Herring expressed enthusiasm about Wheatley’s appointment, stating, “Coach Wheatley’s record speaks for itself, as he is one of the most outstanding volleyball coaches in the country. We are excited to welcome him to the Auburn City Schools family!”

Aside from being the current AVCA national Coach of the Year, Coach Wheatley has been honored as Florida Coach of the Year for volleyball four times and was named Coach of the Year for all sports in 2022. He is an inductee into the USA Volleyball Hall of Fame, the Florida High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame, and the Venice Sports Hall of Fame. Additionally, for the past two summers, he has been selected to coach accomplished college players internationally in a Global Challenge tour in Europe. Wheatley also serves as a coach with USA Volleyball as a National Team Development Program coach, aiding in talent development in the Olympic pipeline alongside some of the top college coaches in America.

“Auburn felt like the right place at the right time. I don’t think there is another high school in the country that I would have moved to besides Auburn High School. I love Venice High School. Venice has been great to my family. It is a wonderful community and a top-notch school system, but ever since I transferred to Auburn University as an undergraduate, Auburn has felt like home. My wife and I have dear friends in Auburn. There are churches we love in Auburn. Our daughter just graduated from Auburn University and our son is there currently. We just love the Auburn Community. It’s a cliché’ but we believe in Auburn and love it. Auburn City Schools have a reputation of academic and athletic excellence and they have shown they are willing to do what it takes to compete at the highest levels, so we are excited to come immerse ourselves here and build a program that reflects the greatness of Auburn,” said Coach Wheatley.

Before embarking on his professional coaching career, Wheatley played volleyball at Long Beach State University and San Jose State University in California. He also served as an undergraduate assistant at Auburn University under coach Liz Bitzer Underwood.

“I am excited to meet the local players and see where we can go from here. I realize it may take some to build a championship-caliber team, but Superintendent Cristen Herring, Athletic Director Dan Norton, Principal Shannon Pignato, and the whole system have all been very supportive and willing to do what it takes to build a top-notch program, so we are excited,” added Coach Wheatley.

It was during his time at Auburn University where Coach Wheatley met his wife, Lisa, who has had a distinguished career as an Elementary School Principal in the Sarasota County Florida School System.

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