published Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

Bryan loses Sayles to Gardner-Webb

Leo Sayles has resigned as volleyball coach at Bryan College to be the head coach at NCAA Division I member Gardner-Webb University.

Sayles had a 153-108 record for his seven seasons at the little NAIA college in Dayton, Tenn., and that was 131-70 for the last five years, when he was 69-14 in the Appalachian Athletic Conference. The Lady Lions were ACC regular-season co-champions at 15-1 in 2009 and ACC tournament finalists in 2007 and '09. Their overall grade point average since 2004 is 3.3.

"This position garnered impressive interest from potential candidates all over the country," Gardner-Webb vice president Chuck Burch said in the announcement from Boiling Springs, N.C. "Leo vaulted to the top of that list early in the process and is an exceptional fit for our university and the young women in our program."

Said Sayles in the Gardner-Webb release: "It is truly a blessing to be here. I want to thank Chuck and Dr. Bonner and the athletics department for allowing me to join the athletics staff. I am truly excited and looking forward to working with the young ladies on the volleyball team. We have a lot of talent but still have a lot of work to do. We need to work on the culture of the program and focus on the expectations and the excellence."

The Gardner-Webb release included tributes from Bryan's athletic director, Dr. Sandy Zensen, and president, Dr. Stephen Livesay, as well as other staff members and rival coaches.

"I am truly grateful for the opportunity Dr. Zensen and Dr. Livesay gave me seven years ago," Sayes said. "We have had tremendous success on the court and in the classroom, and our players have touched the lives of many in our community. We have a great staff and a great support network of students and fans here."

Said Zensen: "Leo has been a trusted friend and mentor to many, an effective coach and a consistent example of Christ-likeness to us all. We will miss him greatly."

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