Don’s Dons: Gleason named new Purdue Fort Wayne head coach

Photo courtesy of Daemen athletics

The coach who built Daemen into a nationally ranked, conference champion program is moving to the MIVA.

Purdue Fort Wayne announced Thursday that it hired Don Gleason to be its new men’s volleyball head coach.

Gleason as Daemen’s inaugural head coach turned the program into a perennial top-five ranked team in the Division II national coaches poll. The Wildcats last season also were ranked in the Division I-II national coaches poll for the first time in program history and won the NEC championship for its first conference title in program history.

Daemen in six seasons under Gleason went 81-43. In addition, the Wildcats went undefeated during an abbreviated 2021 season and remain the only undefeated team in NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball during the rally scoring era.


“We are very excited to welcome Don to the Mastodon family,” Purdue Fort Wayne athletics director Kelley Hartley Hutton said in a statement. “His success after starting the Daemen men’s volleyball program combined with his leadership style, make him the right choice to be the next head coach of our storied Mastodon program. He is a well-respected coach in the men’s volleyball community and I expect him to make an immediate impact on Purdue Fort Wayne Athletics.”

Purdue Fort Wayne finished last season tied for fifth place in MIVA and lost in the conference tournament quarterfinals. Among the players slated to return to the Mastodons next season includes All-MIVA pin-hitter Mark Frazier.

The Mastodons last won the MIVA championship in 2007 when they advanced to the NCAA Tournament finals under Hall of Fame coach Arnie Ball. Purdue Fort Wayne most recently advanced to the MIVA Tournament finals in 2022.

“With such a storied history, there is no doubt that PFW can quickly reemerge as a perennial conference contender,” Gleason said in a statement. “Kelley Hartley Hutton’s vision for the program is right in line with what I believe I can provide: a culture where student-athletes can find both joy and success. I look forward to building connections with the team and creating an environment in which they can thrive.”

Gleason will be the third coach in Mastodons’ program history.

The position became open earlier this offseason following coach Rock Perrotte opting to leave Purdue Fort Wayne to join the coaching staff at Penn State.