Coach Steve Yarnell will be entering his 13th season as head coach of the Bluffton University volleyball program. He is also an associate professor in the health, fitness and sport science department.
In his fifth season at the helm, Yarnell led the team to an overall record of 27-6, including a spotless 8-0 mark in the Heartland Conference. The Beavers clinched a berth in the NCAA tournament with a thrilling five-set victory over MSJ in the HCAC Tournament finals at Bluffton University. After finishing in a five-way tie for first place in the HCAC during the 2011 campaign, Bluffton became the first-ever sixth seed to run the table and win the Heartland Conference tournament when the Beavers earned their second NCAA Regional appearance in five years a season ago. Bluffton followed that with a 7-2 HCAC mark in 2014 that culminated with a second consecutive Heartland Conference tournament title and trip to the NCAA Regionals at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo. The Beavers made it a Heartland Conference tournament three-peat with a sweep at Hanover in 2015, earning a spot at Juniata Regional where Bluffton fell to eventual NCAA runner-up Wittenberg in four sets. It was a four-peat for the Bluffton volleyball program in 2016 when the Beavers downed Hanover in the HCAC title tilt before knocking off #17 Wisconsin-Oshkosh for their first NCAA tournament victory!
Yarnell graduated from the University of Findlay in 2003 with a bachelor's of science degree in physical education. He also completed his master's degree from Findlay in 2005 in education with a technology emphasis.
Prior to assuming the role as head coach for the Bluffton University volleyball team, Yarnell was the first assistant coach for the men's and women's volleyball programs at the University of Findlay in 2004. Before that, Yarnell was the graduate assistant for the men's volleyball team at Findlay.
Yarnell was a varsity volleyball player at Findlay from 2000-03. He was honored as academic all-conference his junior and senior seasons as well as being named to two all-tournament teams as a player during his career. Yarnell was also a gold medal winner for the United States volleyball squad at the Australia Down Under Games.
He has been highly active in the local volleyball scene as he worked extensively with volleyball camps and local volleyball clubs. Yarnell, an Impact and CAP level 1 certified coach, is a member of USA Volleyball and the American Volleyball Coaches Association. He directs numerous camps and clinics at Bluffton University and at high school campuses throughout the state.
Coach Yarnell and his wife, Kelly, reside in Bluffton with their 11-year-old daughter, Gracie, nine-year-old son, Toby, and three-year-old son, Brady.