Jason LeBlanc is hitting the ground running.
The recently appointed Elgin Community College women's volleyball coach is hot on the recruiting trail. He takes over a program that won 5 matches in 2013 and finished the year with a threadbare roster of 7 players.
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"I want to build an outstanding program and get some excitement going in the program and bring local talent back here," said LeBlanc, a 1988 graduate of Dundee-Crown and a former ECC men's volleyball club team player. "There are a lot of players in the Elgin area that are going to other schools. We want to be competing for conference titles and trips to nationals."
LeBlanc noted step one in the process is getting the word out about ECC.
"I've found out that a lot of girls don't know ECC has a volleyball program," he said. "My job is to find talent and bring it together and move forward. What's exciting is the players I've been talking to are talented and have good skills. We're here to change the reputation and make this program competitive again. I think we are going to surprise some people this fall."
LeBlanc coaches in the successful Sky High club program based out of Crystal Lake. He's currently coaching a 16 regional team and a 16 elite team there. A five-year veteran of Sky High, LeBlanc also coached the freshman girls team at Woodstock North High School this past fall. LeBlanc said he will continue to coach at Sky High.
LeBlanc and his family are no strangers to ECC volleyball. In addition LeBlanc playing on the men's club team, his wife, Catherine, graduated from St. Edward and played for the ECC women's team in the mid-1990s. They have been married 17 years and have two daughters.
"This is my chance to coach at the school I played at. It's a chance to come back home," he said.
LeBlanc said he inherits a roster that features three returnees, including 2013 co-captain Alyssa Montag (South Elgin). Montag, a former Sky High club player, and freshman Alyssa Serewicz (St. Charles North) were all-Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference second-team picks and both made the conference all-tournament team as well.
In addition to a busy recruiting push and putting together the squad's 2014 playing schedule, LeBlanc is hosting ECC volleyball open gyms for interested high-school seniors.
The open workouts occur this Tuesday and Tuesday April 29 from 6-8 p.m. in Gym B of the ECC Events Center (Building J). Those attending should bring their own knee pads and gym shoes.
For questions on the ECC women's volleyball program and/or the open gyms, contact LeBlanc at (708) 559-9206 or firstname.lastname@example.org.