BYU volleyball notes: Patch’s passion for photography earned invite from Bryce Harper

First Published      Last Updated May 03 2017 04:27 pm

Columbus, Ohio • Ben Patch, BYU's two-time All-American volleyball player, decided a few years ago that he needed a little more balance in his life, so he took up photography as a hobby.

He bought his first digital camera, started up a photography business shooting mostly couples for wedding announcements, and has already met some famous people.

That's true even if the junior from Provo High didn't know they were that famous.

At the NCAA Men's Volleyball Championships news conference on Wednesday, BYU coach Shawn Olmstead told a story about how Patch set up some photography work for Washington Nationals star Bryce Harper without knowing that Harper is one of the best professional baseball players in the country.

According to Olmstead, Patch referred to Harper at the time as "some guy who is marrying a former BYU women's soccer player."

That would be Kayla Varner, whom Harper married in the San Diego LDS Temple last December.

Coincidentally, Varner transferred from BYU to Ohio State, site of this year's championships and where BYU will take on Long Beach State on Thursday in a national semifinal match (4 p.m MDT). Varner graduated from OSU with a degree in strategic communications.

"So he has rubbed shoulders with guys like that," Olmstead said. "He's pretty good at what he does, that's for sure."

He's not bad at volleyball, either.

Hey coach, what are you chewing?

Along with guiding BYU's women team to the 2014 national championship match and the men's team to the national championship match last year at Penn State, Olmstead is known for always having gum in his mouth to reduce stress on the sidelines.

He was asked his favorite flavor on Wednesday.

"I've been on a Hubba Bubba craze lately, a bubble gum kick the last couple of months," he said. "It changes, kinda like Ben's hair. It changes with my emotional state. It kinda just goes that way."

Hairy issue

Speaking of Patch's hair, he was asked why he went from a healthy, hair product-enabled coif last year to a short, bleach-blonde look this year.

"I am just a funky person, so I just wanted to mix it up," he said. "I wish I was a blonde, I guess. Last year I looked like I had taxidermy on my head, so we are moving in the right direction."

Asked later what he can do this year to make sure BYU doesn't lose in the NCAA finals, Patch quipped: "Have better hair."

Patch, who had five service aces in Tuesday's 3-0 win over Barton College, served his shortened LDS Church mission in Columbus, and was in the same area for seven months.

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