Miami’s Dan Gwitt aims to ‘lean on’ legendary coach he’s replacing

OXFORD — Few, if any college coaches in any sport in history, left a legacy greater than Carolyn Condit.

The long-time Miami University women’s volleyball coach announced on Halloween that she was retiring after her 40th season with the RedHawks.

Condit posted a 682-554 record at Miami and 781-634 overall at Xavier and with the RedHawks, capturing nine regular-season Mid-American Conference championships, reaching the MAC post-season tournament 13 times, reaching the title game 12 times and winning five. She was named MAC Coach of the Year six times and inducted into Miami’s Athletics’ Hall of Fame in 2001 — 22 years before her retirement.

Her career wins in Oxford are more than any other coach in any sport in Miami history.

Those are the shoes Dan Gwitt will try to fill.

Gwitt was formally introduced as Miami’s fifth women’s volleyball coach on Thursday in the Gloor Auditorium at the Randy Gunlock Family Athletic Performance Center on Miami’s campus. Gwitt, along with most of the other hundred or candidates who approached athletics director David Sayler about the job, is well aware of the legacy left by Condit, who diplomatically avoided the media session.

“Her legacy is amazing,” said Sayler, who revealed the number of original candidates that was whittled down to more than 12, including members of previous staffs. “I’m sure it’s something we’ll never see in college athletics ever again.”

“There’s something about this school,” Gwitt said, rattling off a litany of acquaintances who either attended Miami or know somebody who did. “There’s something about this town. Carolyn Condit is an amazing human. She offered to stay back, but I told her, ‘No. I want you in.’

“No one did it better than Coach Condit. I told her, ‘I definitely want to lean on you a lot.’”

The auditorium was half full with media members, current and former members of the Miami volleyball teams and athletic departments members, including RedHawks football coach Chuck Martin, who at one point was observed standing up and applauding about one of Gwitt’s answers.

Gwitt grew up in Eden in upstate New York. He didn’t start playing volleyball until his freshman year in high school, but he displayed enough potential to be recruited by budding power Penn State. He admitted to not being good enough to earn a permanent position at one position, but he feels that the versatility he displayed will be valuable as he embarks on his second Division I coaching position.

“I played everything in high school,” he said. “As a player, I was like, ‘Put me in, coach.’ I think it helped me as a coach. I didn’t play as much as I wanted to, but our team did great. I learned how to coach everything.”

Gwitt began his coaching career at Centenary College in Shreveport, Louisiana, including three seasons as head coach. He also spent four seasons as an assistant at Indiana before returning to his alma mater at Penn State. Along the way, he established a reputation as an effective recruiter. Besides helping lead the Nittany Lions to back-to-back trips to the NCAA Sweet 16 in 2022 and 2023, he also led the effort to recruit two straight top 10 recruiting classes.

Gwitt, who also has extensive experience coaching and recruiting club volleyball, mentioned on several occasions about recruiting in Ohio. He hopes to tap into Southwest Ohio’s rich high school girls’ volleyball legacy, which could not only help the team on the court, but also in the stands. The problem is getting out to watch the potential recruits in high school, which places an emphasis in following off-season club action.

“That’s all part of the big plan,” he said. “We have only so many recruiting days, but if there’s a kid in Cincinnati who wants to come to Miami, we have to get that kid.”

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