Mike Steiner

Sports Editor


Four consecutive 25-win seasons, Little East Conference and Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference titles, a career record of 141-76 at Keene State College, and numerous All-League and All-Academic players. Such reads the resume of head KSC volleyball coach Bob Weiner. Now, after six years of coaching at KSC, full-time status can be added to his already impressive resume.

Word came from KSC Athletic Director John Ratliff earlier this month, and Weiner admits he couldn’t be happier.

“It feels amazing,” Weiner said through his trademark mischievous smile.

While the application, or reapplication, for his job was not at all related to his performance while at KSC, Weiner said he refused to allow himself to listen to what others, including other KSC coaches, were saying about him being a shoo-in for getting rehired.

“I try not to take anything for granted. People were telling me not to worry but I didn’t want to take anything for granted,” Weiner said. “Wouldn’t it have been worse to be blindsided? Assuming you got the job and then not getting it?”

What the reapplication process was related to is the ongoing task of converting part-time coaches at KSC to full-time status.

Weiner is the third coach in as many years to be elevated to full-time status, with women’s lacrosse coach Amy Watson and men’s lacrosse coach Mark Theriault having already been elevated respectively.

According to Ratliff, the changes are a necessity if KSC wants to continue its climb towards being one of the elite athletic schools in New England.

“If you look at our percentages over the last seven or eight years that went to NCAA tournaments that were coached by full time coaches compared to those that were coached by part-time, it was a greater percentage of our teams that were coached by full-time coaches than those that were coached by part-time coaches.”

Essentially what the change from part-time coach to full-time coach really means is that Ratliff can be completely comfortable holding each coach accountable for where they are and how much time they’re putting into working with the team.

As a part-time coach, a coach is only required to be on campus for a certain amount of time, including games and practices.

Because of the low level of pay that comes with being a part-time coach, most work at least one job in addition to coaching.

Because of that, Ratliff said he recalled many times where there would be staff meetings and a coach would be missing because they were working their other job and there was nothing anyone could do about it.

“It goes from just being here for practices and games to being on campus full-time where now recruiting becomes as big a priority as the actual coaching of the games,” Ratliff said.

The key word for Ratliff as well as Weiner is recruiting.

“I can’t count on one hand the times where a recruit would come and say, ‘Hey is your coach here?’ and I would say, ‘No that coach is part-time.’ And you lose that recruit just right off the bat,” Ratliff said.

The reason goes back to the coaches needing to work a second and sometimes third job to be able to make ends meet. In the hypothetical world of a part-time coach, the only way a coach could meet with a recruit is if the recruit could work around the coach’s schedule. A full-time coach has the flexibility to work around the players’ schedules.

Ratliff said he remembers when he arrived at KSC and how part-time coaches were making around $4,000. He said since then they’ve been bumped up to around $15,000, but it’s still not enough to be a sole source of income.

For Weiner, recruiting is always essential to keeping up with the top teams in the Northeast. Being a full-time coach assures that he’ll have the time to continue doing his best in that department.

“I think what made it nerve-racking for me is that this is where I want to be,” Weiner admitted. “We’ve built something. I’m really proud of what I’ve done. As I’ve told my bosses, I’ll have even more time to improve on that now.”

In a rare moment of seriousness for Weiner, he was able to admit just how important being a full-time coach is to him.

“I worked very hard to get to this spot,” Weiner said. “Years ago when I was out of a job, I was living across the street from a college, and I would go in and work out every day, I’d break into the gym every day, and I got to know some of the faculty.”

In addition, Weiner said, “There was a guy who had just gotten tenure and I overheard him saying to a group of students, ‘Well you know what, now that I have tenure I don’t have to do crap,’’ he said. “I thought that was the most freaking insulting thing I ever heard. If I’m full-time I should be able to take us to the next level. If I can’t, I’ll work harder to make that happen.”

Bringing volleyball, and KSC sports in general, to the next level is exactly what Ratliff is anticipating with the series of promotions.

“When we looked at three [top comparable public colleges] and we asked, ‘How are they always in the upper echelon?’ The most glowing omission from our standpoint was that they all had full-time coaches.”

The next position Ratliff said he anticipated being up for full-time status is the KSC swimming and diving coach, a position currently held by coach Jack Fabian.

Fabian just returned from nationals with a handful of All-Americans, most of whom are returning for years to come. While no position is a lock, it would be tough to see KSC not returning Fabian to his position.

Regardless of what’s happened so far, Ratliff said he is proud of the moves KSC athletics have made and firmly stands behind the decisions to make them.

“If you’re not moving ahead, you’re falling behind,” Ratliff said. “You’ve got to find a way to get better and I believe fully this is a huge component to make us more successful.”


Mike Steiner can be contacted at msteiner@keeneequinox.com

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