From left: Coach Pete Hoyer, his wife and assistant coach Lorelle and assistant coach Annie Stephens
SUU’s new head volleyball coach, Pete Hoyer, eats, sleeps and dreams volleyball.
Coach Hoyer took over the T-Bird volleyball team in January of 2018, and is committed to establishing a culture of winning and constant improvement.
His love for volleyball began at a young age:
“It’s kind of ironic,” Coach Hoyer said. “I grew up in a small town in Wisconsin. There wasn’t boy’s volleyball in the area, but my dad always played in a league. When I was in the gym there was something about the rhythm of the game. I didn’t know it at the time but I look back on it like, ‘Wait, this is fascinating. There’s a combination of power and finesse and a rhythm to everything.’”
That rhythm ended up guiding him through the rest of his life.
“My fourth year of college, a guy saw me play in intramurals and he said, ‘Why don’t you come out for the men’s club team?’ and I thought, ‘Alright, I’ll give it a try.’ From that moment forward I never looked back. My intention was to be a history professor but I chose to be in the gym instead of a library the rest of my life.”
Coach Hoyer began his head coaching career in 1993 directing the Dayton Flyers. In 2001, he was named Atlantic 10 coach of the year after the Flyers finished first in the conference.
He decided in 2002 that he needed to step away from the game he loved to make more time for his family. The Hoyers moved to Texas, where Pete taught Special Education.
Coach Hoyer valued his relationships with the students, but during the six year break, the rhythm called him back into coaching.
“And the end of the day I was teaching and everything, but I’m a coach. When I was teaching special ed I was still coaching. I felt like I was pretty successful [as a teacher] and that I could connect with the kids pretty well, but my passion is coaching college volleyball.”
In 2010 the rhythm guided him to restart his coaching career at North Carolina State.
After a stop in Texas at the University of Texas San Antonio, he received a call from SUU Athletic Director Debbie Corum. Corum needed a someone to lead the volleyball program, and Coach Hoyer was ecstatic to take the reins as a head coach once again.
When it came to picking his head assistant upon his arrival at SUU, Coach Hoyer knew the perfect candidate: his wife Lorelle. The Hoyers met at a volleyball camp they coached. The pair had common interests: volleyball and special education. They began coaching together in North Carolina and worked well together on the court. Hoyer was especially enamored by Lorelle’s ability to connect with young women.
He took over an inexperienced team, and stressed the importance of ignoring the scoreboard and having fun playing the game.
“We’re not worried about wins and losses, we’re going to worry about getting better everyday, and that’s how we’re gauging everything. We want to see people improve everyday. The idea is that if we get 1% or 2% better everyday, the wins are gonna happen.”
The rhythm has taken Coach Hoyer from those small gyms in Wisconsin all the way to Cedar City and it continues guiding him everyday of his life. For Hoyer, and now for his team, the rhythm never stops.
Story by: Connor Sanders
Photo by: Connor Sanders