Andrew Walker

With one of the Mid-American Conference's best recruiting classes coming into the program this fall and All-MAC-caliber talent at just about each position, Ball State University women's volleyball coach Dave Boos decided to leave it all behind Wednesday morning when the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics announced Boos was resigning from his position, effective Friday.

Boos' assistant coach, Marci Peniata, will serve as interim coach until a permanent replacement is hired.

Boos did not return phone calls requesting comment and his players were not immediately made available for comment, but Ball State Athletic Director Tom Collins said he was surprised by Boos's departure.

"It certainly caught me off guard," said Collins, who hired Boos Jan. 8, 2007. "I certainly wasn't expecting it, but those things happen sometimes."

Boos is rumored to be headed to the University of Florida and serve as an assistant coach, sources said. Boos served as current Florida head coach Mary Wise's assistant coach on the 2006 USA A-2 Women's National Team.

Mary Howard, associate athletics director for communication at Florida, said late Wednesday afternoon that, "We are not releasing anything today."

Boos' initial three-year contract with Ball State ended in late January, but he told The Ball State Daily News in December that he was offered a one-year extension with the school through the 2010 season.

However, when The Daily News requested to obtain a copy of Boos' new contract in February through the Indiana Access to Public Records Act, it was turned down because the Office of University Compliance said it did not exist.

Boos completed his third season as the Cardinals' coach Nov. 20, 2009 with a 3-1 loss to Ohio University in the MAC Tournament Quarterfinals. He had compiled a 32-62 (17-31 MAC) career record at Ball State.

Volleyball Hall of Fame coach Don Shondell said he consider Boos to be an outstanding coach during his time at Ball State. Shondell, who still lives in Muncie after coaching the Ball State men's volleyball team for 34 seasons, also said he was surprised by the news.

"[Boos] loves to coach," Shondell said. "I was very impressed with him and it was only a matter of time before we are going to have some top players come to the program."

In its 38 year history, Ball State has won seven conference titles but has failed to a MAC championship since 2002.

Shondell said he thinks Ball State has the chance to one day dominate the MAC like it did in the 1990s when the program reached the NCAA Tournament six times. However, the coach said it will be difficult because the conference has improved in recruiting and coaching.

"Over a period of time we could be successful program like back when Randy [Litchfield] was coaching. It's not easy to win like it use to be."

Boos, who replaced longtime coach Litchfield, came from the University of Minnesota where he spent five seasons as an assistant coach and later as associate head coach.

His career at Ball State had seen improvement each season. In the 2007-08 campaign, his first season, the Cardinals finished 5-25 (4-12 MAC) with a mostly depleted roster left over from Litchfield's final team. In 2008-09, Ball State improved to 12-21 (6-10 MAC), and with his first two full recruiting classes in place, the Cardinals finished 15-16 (7-9 MAC) in 2009-10.

"Coach Boos has done a good job building the women's program and improving their national rankings," Ball State men's volleyball coach Joel Walton said. "He's done a good job recruiting."

Boos' five-player recruiting class for the 2010-11 season included four players who were named to the PrepVolleyball.com 2010 Senior Aces "The 150" list as some of the top 250 recruits nationally. The other player was on the "Just Missing List," landing right outside the top 250.

"He struggled because his team has been young, but I felt this upcoming year was going to be a breakthrough year," Walton said. "I would guess one of his hardest decisions is leaving the players that he recruited. For every coach there is a bond between him and their players. Breaking that bond is difficult for every coach."

Whether these recruits will still play at Ball State at this time is unknown.

Boos' three-year reign was also marred by players leaving the program. Of his six-player 2008 recruiting class, four players quit the team or recently announced plans to leave or transfer from the program.

Boos was in the process of hiring an assistant coach after his top assistant, Hugh Hernesman, left in December to become co-head coach at Northwestern State University with his wife, Stephanie, a former Ball State volunteer coach.

Collins said Peniata's job now is to keep the team together in this time of turmoil.

"I think it's just critical to keep everybody together, keep the recruiting going," he said. "She's been a valuable part of the team, and I think the players respect her."

Vinnie Lopes and Nathan Pace contributed to this report.