Wheeler-Deck family embedded in Braves volleyball; Three generations of Brownstown players

BROWNSTOWN — You always hear stories about generations of families who all stick together in one business, one venture or even a particular sport.

It’s truly special when you can have three generations working together at the same time, especially on the volleyball court.

The Wheeler-Deck family has been through Brownstown Central volleyball for years, starting with the original in Kelly Deck, who played from 1978 to 1982.

She then started coaching middle school volleyball from 1988 to 1992 before becoming the Braves freshman coach in 1996.

Deck likely didn’t think this would be a generational family affair, but here we are, and she wouldn’t change it for anything.

This also was the same season current head coach Jennifer Shade started as an assistant coach with Brownstown. Deck then became the assistant varsity coach in 1998, the same season Shade took over the program.

Deck got the chance to coach her daughter, Paige Wheeler, back during that time period with the Braves going to the state finals during Wheeler’s sophomore season. They also went during her junior season in 1999.

Paige then became a varsity assistant coach with Brownstown and continued to be one when Deck left the team in 2007 to take more time to be a grandmother.

In 2022, another Wheeler entered the Brownstown volleyball program.

This time, it was Paige’s daughter, Finley.

Deck was approached to come back into coaching by Shade, and she took the opportunity.

“It’s a dream that I get to coach alongside my daughter and granddaughter,” Deck said. “I wasn’t sure if I was ready to get back into it, but it’s a lot of fun. I had to learn some new things with the game changing over the years, but I’m glad to be back and with my family in the process.”

Now, with the both of them coaching at Brownstown Central, it has come full circle with Wheeler being a key piece to the Braves’ second-place finish in Class 2A this season.

Finley made the title game during her sophomore season, just like her mother did in 1998.

Wheeler was asked about the feeling of having her mother and grandmother on the court with her during the season.

“It’s funny at times. Every time I look over at them, they both have the exact same facial expression,” Wheeler said. “It’s very neat that I have both of them by my side, and I’ve learned a lot over the years from them.”

Paige was asked about the opportunity to coach her daughter while also having her mother next to her.

“It has been a dream to do it with my mom and daughter,” Wheeler said. “It can be hard at times having your daughter out there. But we have reaped the benefits of it and had a lot of fun making memories throughout the years.”

All three were asked about their favorite part of this amazing season.

Finley said, “My favorite part was the postseason. Our sectional, regional and semistate wins were incredible, and it was awesome to share that with the community. Going to state is amazing and a real good experience.”

Paige said, “We started talking about it back in April. We had a dream and had goals. Our girls came along throughout the season and achieved that goal. It was amazing to see the girls band together as one throughout the postseason.”

Kelly said, “Just getting to know the girls. It was awesome to be included while still being a grandmother. I’m so glad Brownstown wanted me back. We get along so well and have for a long time.”

Finley still has two more seasons of volleyball left for the Lady Braves, who are hungry to get back to Muncie in 2024.