He built the winningest Class 2A volleyball program in the state and he’s right in Valley Center’s back yard.

Bryan Otte, coach of the Moundridge High School volleyball team since 1997, was named head coach at Valley Center High School last week. Otte has lived in the Valley Center school district for 13 years.


He built the winningest Class 2A volleyball program in the state and he’s right in Valley Center’s back yard.

Bryan Otte, coach of the Moundridge High School volleyball team since 1997, was named head coach at Valley Center High School last week. Otte has lived in the Valley Center school district for 13 years.

“I’m at the age now where I just thought I’d like to start another program,” said Otte, 44. “Not two or three more. Just one more.”

Otte’s Moundridge teams won state titles in 1997, 1998, 1999, 2002 and 2006. It went to the state tournament nine times since 1997, finishing second three times. Otte’s overall record with the Wildcats is 365-41.

Otte was named Kansas Coaches Association’s volleyball coach of the year in 2003 and 2007 and was a national coach of the year finalist in 2003.

He grew up in Moundridge and started his coaching career as an assistant at Heights High School. He also teaches physical education.

He said it was difficult telling his players he was leaving.

“That was very, very hard,” he said. “As a coach, that was probably the hardest thing I ever had to do. Those kids deserve a good coach, and I expect the same thing in Valley Center.”

Otte said he had several reasons for choosing Valley Center. His only child, Emily Otte, is an eighth-grader at Valley Center Middle School and will be a freshman at the high school next year. The cost of commuting an hour each day also was a factor.

More importantly, Otte was looking for a challenge.

“I felt like I was on cruise control,” Otte said. “I was in a rut. I’m not the type of person who likes to be in a rut.”

And he’s not ready to retire from the court, either.

“I think it would be real exciting to start something,” he said.

Building a program requires three ingredients, he said: supportive from parents, dedication and buy-in from the athletes and support from district administrators.

“With that, a coach can get a lot done,” Otte said.

Otte replaces Gayle Stucky, who resigned after two years.

During the last two seasons, the Hornets made two Class 5A state appearances, where they failed to win a single match. They were 22-17 this season.