Jason Keeble’s roots as a volleyball coach hit close to home.
His wife Deidre got him started.
The husband-and-wife coaching duo led Heritage High School’s volleyball team on a historic run this year, winning the first region tournament since 2002 and advancing to the state tournament for the first time in school history.
Jason Keeble, the inaugural 5Star Preps volleyball coach of the year, was 19 years old when he married Deidre, 16 at the time, when he was in college and she played volleyball at Gibbs.
They’ve been married for 25 years. Their daughter, Kailey, is the 5Star Preps co-player of the year and a University of Tennessee signee.
“We’re still kicking after 25 years,” Jason says of he and Deidre. “We’ve been blessed, that’s for sure.”
Jason is a 1993 graduate of Heritage, where he played baseball, basketball and ran cross country and track. He passed on an NAIA offer to play basketball in Texas and was attending UT when he met Deidre.
They got married after less than 2 years of dating. Like Jason, Deidre passed on a chance to play college volleyball, and the couple started a family. Kailey has an older brother, Calvin, and a younger brother, Ty.
“We both gave (sports) up for each other,” Jason says. “It ended up working because she started coaching club (volleyball), and I kind of followed her around. We’ve done that as a family for about 15 years now. It’s been an interesting journey.”
Jason got his degree in finance and worked at National Health Care while Deidre raised the family and coached club volleyball. She’s now the youth director and office manager at K2 Volleyball in Louisville, Tenn.
Jason got his first high school coaching job at Webb under Dennis Ray — who coached Deidre at Gibbs — as a non-faculty coach from 2008-11. Keeble then became an assistant at Heritage under Lisa Collins.
Collins resigned in 2016 to take an administrative position at William Blount, and Keeble became Heritage’s head coach with Deidre as his assistant. Jason is in his sixth year of teaching at his alma mater and coaches 12-and-unders at K2 Volleyball with Deidre.
“Coaching 12s, it’s kind of hard to flip that switch, coming from Murfreesboro and the state tournament with older kids and all of a sudden going back to the very basics,” Jason says. “It always takes about a month.”
Keeble coached Kailey when she was 12, but not as a head coach again until her sophomore year at Heritage. Collins was Kailey’s head coach at Heritage her freshman year when Jason was the assistant.
Jason Keeble said he and Kailey had their differences at times, but the good times far outweighed any of it.
“It just morphed into by her junior and senior year those lines were established and respect as a player and coach was there,” Jason said. “Obviously we shared the same goals. We’re both highly competitive, and it worked well. I’ll really miss it.”
The Keebles and Heritage had a remarkable run this season, beating Webb in the regular season, winning the challenging District 4-AAA, and posting a 30-8 record.
Heritage had three seniors on this year’s roster — Kailey Keeble, Ashlyn Vandergriff, and Kacie McBurnett – and Jason Keeble likes the future of the program.
He takes pride in representing Heritage and wants to pass it on to his players.
“I try to tell Kailey that too, all the kids, that you represent something bigger than yourself when you play a team sport. Whatever you do at Heritage, you represent the school,” Keeble said. “It is very satisfying to see a lot of these kids come up and make a special run to the state tournament.
“It’s amazing how many people not only came to Murfreesboro to watch, but when we came back, people telling us, ‘We were following you on the website, we were watching late night.’ It was just fun to get to come back and hear what people were saying from the outside.”