At the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics level, Inajaran’s Donan Cruz has nothing left to prove.
At the conclusion of the Grand View University Vikings’ men’s volleyball 2021 season, Cruz had coached the team to a perfect 27-0 record, hauling in another national championship.
Having mastered NAIA sports, Cruz is rising in rank and will make the move to the NCAA Division I, where he will head up Ball State University’s men’s volleyball program in Muncie, Indiana, which is the highest level achieved by any coach born and raised on Guam.
“Leaving Grand View was a very tough decision for my family and I,” Cruz told GSPN. “The university and the volleyball community in the state of Iowa has really embraced me as a person and men’s volleyball as an emerging sport here.”
After ten successful years at Grand View, Cruz walks away with two national championship titles, eight conference titles and four national Coach of the Year awards. Having success year after year only shined the light brighter on Cruz and his coaching career.
Two states and 521 miles due east is where the Ball State Cardinals came calling.
With Ball State’s head coach Joel Walton exiting the program after 23 years , the time couldn’t have been more perfect for the 37-year-old Cruz to make the leap.
“The opportunity to be a part of a very storied history at Ball State was also something I thought was very unique,” Cruz said. “I will be only the fourth coach in Cardinal history. My goal of going to Ball State is to make my mark on a program that I think can be a national contender.”
Ball State plays in the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association.
The top conference contenders are Ohio State University, Loyola University Chicago and Lewis University, the reigning champions.
“For me, to compete at the highest level is what made this such an attractive place to coach," Cruz said. “The facilities are excellent and the staff within the athletic department that I had a chance to already meet has been nothing but great.”
With 14 national championships but none in nearly two decades, Cruz is hoping to end the drought.
Completing an impressive 211-55 cumulative record with Grand View, his credentials are proof of excellence and Ball State has all the confidence in Guam’s son to take the Cardinals to the next level.
Editor’s note: While at Grand View, Cruz recruited Guam’s top high school players Devin Maluwelmeng, Eric Ada and Aiden McDonald.