Ed Cruz learned the value of teamwork during 20 years in the United States Marine Corps.

Ed Cruz learned the value of teamwork during 20 years in the United States Marine Corps.

Now, the former chief warrant officer hopes to pass on those lessons to the Bexley High School girls volleyball team.

"When you're in the Marine Corps, you learn to rely on other people," said Cruz, who was named coach last week. "In a team sport, you work on improving your own skills, but you have to get your skills to interact with your teammates to make a team better."

Cruz replaces Corrie Feldmann, who coached the team for two seasons and resigned after an 11-12 finish last fall. The Lions lost to Amanda-Clearcreek 25-19, 25-16, 25-27, 25-11 in the second round of the Division II district tournament.

Bexley finished sixth in the MSL-Ohio Division at 6-8, behind co-champions Licking Valley and Granville (12-2), Newark Catholic (10-4), Lakewood (8-6) and Heath (7-7) and ahead of Whitehall (2-12) and Columbus Academy (0-14).

After graduating from Columbus West in 1973, Cruz served in the USMC until 1993. After leaving the service, he coached at Havelock (N.C.) Middle School in 1997 and at the high school from 1998-2010.

He compiled a 187-114 record as Havelock's girls volleyball coach and won two conference titles. He was named Coastal Conference Coach of the Year three times and had 15 players go on to compete in college.

Cruz also coached wrestling at Havelock from 2002-10. His teams won seven league titles and six regional championships while producing six individual state champions and five state runners-up.

After moving back to Columbus, Cruz, who is retired, was hired in January as Watterson's boys volleyball coach.

"We're very fortunate to find someone with his kind of experience," Bexley athletics director Molly Feesler said. "Just watching him interact with the girls (at the March 14 team meeting), I know we hired the right guy."

Cruz said one of the challenges he faces at Bexley is being the team's fourth coach in six years.

"Longevity certainly helps," Cruz said. "If you have that continuity then players know what they have to do. If Bexley will have me, I want to be here for a long, long time."