Fenwick volleyball coach who led team to state championship with ALS dies

Fenwick High School won its second state volleyball title this year. Pete Ehrlich, who was diagnosed with ALS two years ago, coached the Falcons to their first title since 2013. He died this morning, the school announced. PHOTO BY JTH PHOTOGRAPHY
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Fenwick High School won its second state volleyball title this year. Pete Ehrlich, who was diagnosed with ALS two years ago, coached the Falcons to their first title since 2013. He died this morning, the school announced. PHOTO BY JTH PHOTOGRAPHY

Pete Ehrlich, the emotional leader behind Fenwick High School’s state volleyball championship, died this morning, according to the school.

Ehrlich was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS two years ago. He was 58.

“Lost my precious husband this morning,” wrote his wife Jamie. “He is free from the chains of ALS. He will be greatly missed. Life well lived. As he told his players ‘I have great hope. I will be dancing, singing, and playing volleyball again. There is great hope in Jesus!’”

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After he was diagnosed, Ehrlich, the fifth-year coach, inspired the boys volleyball team to embrace the motto, “We Are Champions.”

This year, the Falcons disposed of Olentangy 25-22, 25-18, 25-16 to win state at Pickerington Central High School. It was the school’s second state Division II Ohio High School Boys Volleyball Association title and first since 2013.

Before the season, Ehrlich considered stepping away from the game he had coached at Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy and Fenwick. His ALS had progressed and Ehrlich wasn’t sure if he’d have the stamina to coach.

When the state championship medal was placed around Ehrlich’s neck, he turned his electric wheelchair around, patted his chest and blew kisses to the Fenwick faithful who greatly outnumbered the Olentangy crowd.

“Play for Pete. Play for Pete. Play for Pete,” the fans chanted.

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