The Memorable Volleyball Career of ‘Coach Cole’ Schlothauer

“I went on two official visits and after I went on my second one, the people at Loyola felt right,” Schlothauer said. “I love Chicago. I love the big buildings — it’s my favorite part.” 

Redshirt senior Cole Schlothauer has made himself known as a consistent and key player for the Loyola men’s volleyball team, playing in every match this season. In his five years as a Rambler, Schlothauer recorded high numbers all across the board with multiple recognitions in the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MIVA) and the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA). 

Schlothauer’s time as a collegiate athlete did not start like others. In high school, he said he played both football and basketball. After quitting football his junior year, he was faced with the tough decision given to him by his dad — choose another sport or get a job. Volleyball happened to be in the same season, so he said he decided to pick it up. Schlothauer said he quickly fell in love with the sport because of how different it was from everything else he had done. 

After making the tough choice of continuing volleyball over basketball, Schlothauer said he got lucky to continue playing at the collegiate level. He had less experience and knowledge than others he was playing against, which led him to not receive as many offers for college play. While playing against a club team with a Loyola commit, Schlothauer said Loyola’s coaching staff caught his eye.

“I went on two official visits and after I went on my second one, the people at Loyola felt right,” Schlothauer said. “I love Chicago. I love the big buildings — it’s my favorite part.” 

Schlothauer made the decision to redshirt his first year, forcing him to sit out for the season. During that time, he said he expanded his knowledge on the sport, watching hours of film and attending two practices each day. 

“I was just trying to become the best,” Schlothauer said. “I had only been playing for two years up to that point, so I was pretty bad. I had a lot to learn.” 

Looking back on his career at Loyola, Schlothauer gave a lot of credit to the former Head Coach Mark Hulse and his coaching staff. Without the push from them during his first year and their constant support on both good and bad days, he said he wouldn’t be the successful player he is today. 

Schlothauer has received multiple accolades from the AVCA and the MIVA throughout his five years as a Rambler, according to Loyola Athletics.  He has received three First-Team All-MIVA honors, one AVCA All-American mention, two AVCA All-American Honorable Mentions, two all-academic MIVA recognitions, an AVCA Preseason All-American Honorable Mention and was named both the MIVA and the AVCA National Player of the Week in the same week, Feb. 2, 2021, according to Loyola Athletics. 

After Loyola Athletics announced the hiring of John Hawks as head coach of the Loyola men’s volleyball team on May 27, and according to Hawks, Schlothauer has been key in leading the team and helping Hawks have the successful season they have had. 

“He’s a great player,” Hawks said. “He does so many things for us. I’m fortunate that I can step into a new position and have somebody with his leadership ability. I’m fortunate that his senior year is my first. I’m just so happy to go out with him on this.” 

According to Schlothauer’s teammate, junior middle blocker Jimmy Meinhart, Schlothauer has been a leader since he arrived at Loyola. From helping first-years find their way around campus to feeling like they belong on the team, Schlothauer was there, Meinhart said. 

“Coach Cole,” as his teammates refer to him, wouldn’t be where he is today without them, Schlothauer said. 

He mentioned former teammate Garrett Zolg and the chemistry they had together. Schlothauer said he now has this same chemistry with his new setter, redshirt sophomore Dan Mangun, who stepped into the role after Zolg left. Schlothauer added that everyone on the team puts in hard work, regardless of where they are on the roster, and helps him be the best he can be. 

Last season, after facing an injury, Schlothauer stepped even more into his “Coach Cole” responsibilities, helping by learning the game better by watching film constantly and being there for his teammates when they needed him. 

“I learned I hated sitting out,” Schlothauer said, laughing. “I’m older than a lot of these guys and I’ve been playing the game for a while. But I think the time down really allowed me to learn the game and become a smarter player.”

With the regular season coming to an end, playoffs are just around the corner for the Ramblers, and Schlothauer said he is excited to win with the team. 

“I have never won the conference championship,” Schlothauer said. “That’s been our goal since the beginning of the year. It’s my senior year — the last rodeo. I want to win it. I’m excited to win it, and we’re going to win it.”

Hawks said the entire Rambler team is hopeful and ready for their playoff run, and having Schlothauer on their side makes everyone more confident. 

“I think his leadership is impeccable,” Meinhart said. “When you get into the playoffs, you have guys that haven’t been in that position and don’t know what to expect. Cole’s been there and done that four times over, so I think his leadership and his play is going to make a big difference for us.” 

After his final season comes to an end, Schlothauer said he intends to turn his part-time job at a real-estate firm — working in acquisitions and development — into his full time job.

Hawks and the team said they wish the best for Schlothauer but will miss him and the impact he had on and off the court. 

“He’s going to be really successful in his real-estate adventures and he’s going to be a great donor to the program,” Hawks said laughing.

Schlothauer and the Ramblers are slated to play their final two games of the regular season on the road, when they face Ball State University April 6 and The Ohio State University April 8. First serve is set for 6 p.m. and 4 p.m. respectively and is set to be broadcast on ESPN+ and BigTen+.

Featured image courtesy of Steve Woltmann for Loyola Athletics

Andi Revesz

Andi Revesz