By Dave Wagner
After 15 years as an Eastern New Mexico University volleyball assistant, Sia Poyer has decided it’s time to move on.
The 37-year-old native of American Samoa has accepted the head coaching position at Division II Valdosta (Ga.) State in the Gulf South Conference, where he will try to turn around a struggling program. He leaves for Valdosta, located in south-central Georgia, in late March.
Poyer has been a part of the ENMU volleyball program since 1990. He earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education and a master’s in sports administration at ENMU, and has been a fulltime assistant to coach Mike Maguire since 1998.
He has taught P.E. classes at Eastern, and served as director of intramurals for the past three years.
“I’ll always be grateful for the opportunity here, starting back in 1990,” said Poyer, who has been married for nine years to former ENMU volleyball and basketball standout Jennifer Goble.
“It was a great experience for me. There are many assistant coaches who would love to have the opportunity I had. I’ve had a lot of freedom here, from recruiting to every aspect of coaching.”
He said he played volleyball growing up, and got involved with the ENMU program by simply asking Maguire — who didn’t have an assistant at the time — if he needed help.
“He just wanted to get involved, and I said, ‘Sure, come on,’” Maguire said. “As the years have gone on, he’s had more responsibility placed on him.
“I couldn’t ask for a better assistant. He’s a great guy, a great family man and he relates well to the kids.”
Maguire added the role of athletic director at ENMU four years ago. Poyer said he thought he might eventually take over the volleyball program if Maguire ever decided to give it up.
“I love it here,” he said. “I love the people, and my adulthood has basically been spent here.”
Coach Jon Teetzel was reassigned to other duties in the VSU athletics department after the 2004 season, when the Lady Blazers went 4-23 and failed to win a game in the GSC East Division for the second consecutive season. VSU went 38-84 in Teetzel’s four-year stint.
Poyer, who will have a graduate assistant next year, said the Lady Blazers have eight returning players but need recruiting help to move up in the GSC.
“It’ll be a challenge, but I’m excited about it,” he said. “I’m looking forward to it.”
The Poyers have a son, Malkolm, 4, and are expecting a second child in July. The family will join Poyer in Georgia later this summer.
The Zias are coming off a 25-9 season in which they lost to top-ranked and then-unbeaten tournament host Nebraska-Kearney in the semifinals of the Southwest Region tournament.
Maguire said the school will begin advertising soon for Poyer’s replacement, and he hopes to have someone in place before the end of the school year.