Expectations are high for Osage's volleyball program, and that doesn't change with the departure of a longstanding coach.
After serving as the Green Devils' JV coach for two seasons, Bryan Tabbert is assuming varsity duties at Osage. Andie Olson, who concluded her 13th and final year at the helm in November, amassed a record of 266-206 on her way to three state tournament appearances.
Also serving as a varsity assistant under Olson, Tabbert soaked up much of Osage's success from the sidelines. His experience coaching the JV team is valuable because of his familiarity with the girls.
Tabbert is looking forward to the challenges and thrills of leading a distinguished program, even after graduating from rival school Saint Ansgar in 2002.
"I grew up on the other side of the rivalry, so it’s pretty cool to be back in Mitchell County and at Osage," Tabbert said. “Obviously I get a lot of flak from Saint Ansgar people, wearing green now instead of red."
Tabbert has joined a long list of family members who have Osage ties, including his late grandfather, Jerry Meitner, who graduated in 1954. His father, as well as seven aunts and uncles, are also Osage graduates.
His coaching career begin in 2010 at Woden-Crystal Lake-Titonka. Tabbert then spent 2011 serving as Ventura High School's middle school and freshman coach. He coached the next five years (one as an assistant, four as head coach) at North Butler, totaling a 46-81 record during his final four years.
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Olson said Tabbert's experience as a head coach will aid the beginning of his tenure in a new position at Osage.
“He’s got a good feel for the kids and the families and the expectations and our schedule, that kind of stuff," Olson said. "I think it’s been a good transition, probably. I don’t know that this would be an easy job for somebody without any background and experience … I’m a little biased, but I think it’s one of the elite programs in the area, for sure."
Among Tabbert's challenges: replacing seven seniors, including setter Rylie Olson. Thankfully, Tabbert has coached Ellie Bobinet, who figures to fill Rylie's role next season.
"We always have that plan in mind, what girls are gonna play what spot," Tabbert said.
The move will allow the Green Devils to capitalize on some continuity. Not only is Tabbert privy to the culture and expectations in Osage, but he's also knowledgeable about the girls in the JV program who will join the varsity team in the coming years.
In addition to the on-the-court support, Tabbert knows he has plenty of family members who are happy to see him in green.