Head Coach Rick Squiers
Rick Squiers completed his 18th season as the University of Nebraska at Kearney head volleyball coach with the end of the 2016 campaign.
He is just the third head coach in school history, following Patty Sitorius and Rosella Meier.
In 18 years at the helm, Squiers has led UNK to 19 NCAA Tournament appearances, three Elite Eight appearances, 13 RMAC (Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference)/MIAA (Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association) regular season crowns, eight RMAC/MIAA tournament titles and a 316-18 home mark.
The Iowa native and 10-time RMAC/MIAA Coach of the Year is 571-81 in his UNK tenure, good for a winning percentage of 88 percent.
In 24 years as a college (four year institutions only) head coach, Squiers has a record of 777-140, a winning percentage of 85 percent. Including a year at a junior college and two seasons at the high school level, his overall mark stands at 878-174 over 28 seasons.24352
Continuing the Lopers long tradition of success in the sport, the three time AVCA Region Coach of the Year has seen 18 different players earn All-American honors at least once in their careers. That includes right side Annie Wolfe, who was tabbed in 2015, and 2016 selections Lindsey Smith (setter) and Tara Ziegelbein (middle). Wolfe was a repeat pick in 2016 as well.
In 2005, Kearney native Erin Gudmundson was named the AVCA Division II National Player of the Year. She is one of six Loper middle hitters, since 2000, to earn All-American honors.
Wolfe also was named the D2 P.O.Y., earning the honor in 2016. The right side from Omaha Marian worked her way from the back row into a starting position her last two seasons.
Squiers has also seen 17 others make the All-Region team with 45 different Lopers earning All-RMAC or All-MIAA honors the past 18 years.
The Lopers dominated the RMAC individual awards in the Squiers era, earning the Player of the Year, Setter of the Year and Freshman of the Year multiple times.
Academically, middle hitter Kelli Brummer earned Academic All-American honors in 2001 and was one of 35 UNK players to make the Academic All-RMAC squad in the Squiers era. In 2008 and 2009, middle Nikki Scott was voted the RMAC Academic Player of the Year.
The 2012 season marked a change for all UNK teams as the Lopers moved into the MIAA. Loper volleyball didn't miss a beat, winning both the regular season and tournament titles en route to a 35-3 record and a No. 3 national ranking.
Having three All-Americans, the Lopers reached the Sweet 16 where only six-time defending national champ Concordia-St. Paul stopped them.
15408In 2016, Kearney again won both MIAA titles in posting a 35-2 overall mark. Finishing the year ranked fifth, the Lopers went 17-0 in the Health & Sports Center, pushing its home court win streak to 35 in a row.
Subsequently, Squiers was named the Central Region and MIAA Coach of the Year, Wolfe picked up MIAA Player of the Year honors with middle Mackenzie Puckett tabbed the region and MIAA Freshman of the Year.
In 2005, UNK went 38-2 and finished as national runners up, falling to Grand Valley State (Mich.), 3-1, in the national title match. The Lopers went 19-0 in the RMAC for the second straight year as well as winning a second straight RMAC Tournament.
UNK hosted the Elite Eight that season, drawing record crowds to the Health & Sports Center. A crowd of 5,025 watched the Loper-Grand Valley match. UNK saw a three-year, 66-match win home court win streak stopped by the Lakers on that December day.
The 2004 campaign was one of the most successful campaigns not only in UNK history but Division II history as well.
The Lopers became the seventh team in D2 history, at the time, to go through the regular season unbeaten (33-0), were ranked No. 1 in the nation for 12 straight weeks and advanced to the national semifinals.
A slew of individual honors included four Lopers earning AVCA All-American honors. Squiers earned his second RMAC Coach of the Year honor while repeating as Region Coach of the Year.7574
Squiers also was tabbed as the Southwest Region Coach of the Year and then, in the summer of 2004, was chosen as the Omaha World Herald’s State College Coach of the Year for Women’s Sports
Prior to UNK, Squiers was head coach at Hastings College, a school that Sitorius coached at before UNK. In his tenure, Squiers’ teams posted a 206-59 record and averaged 34 wins a year.
From 1993-98, his teams were a fixture in the NAIA polls. In three of those years (1994, 1996 and 1998), Hastings qualified for the NAIA National Tournament.
The Broncos also collected three Nebraska-Iowa Athletic Conference (NIAC) championships (1996-1998). In each of the years Hastings won the league, Squiers was named the NIAC COY.
While he had many successful teams, the 1996 squad was special in two regards. First, it set a school record for victories in a season (42). Next, it won the AVCA Academic Award.
Academic and All-American honors were nothing new to Hastings players. Sixteen Broncos earned Academic All-American status under Squiers leadership with four more gaining All-American status.
Before Hastings, Squiers was the head coach at Seward County J.C. in Liberal, Kans. In 1992, he led the Lady Saints to a 28-23 record.
Squiers first volleyball coaching job came at Remsem Saint Mary High in Remsen, Ia. In two years, his teams went 73-11, won two conference titles with Squiers being named league Coach of the Year in 1990.
His coaching career actually began in men’s basketball as he was a graduate assistant at Wyoming in 1989. Squiers also coached basketball at the North Dakota State College of Science in Wahpeton, N.D.
Graduating in 1988 with a degree in physical education from Simpson College in Indianola, Ia., Squiers received his Master’s degree in physical education, emphasizing in administration, from Wyoming the following year.
Squiers lives in Kearney with his wife, Kim. They have six children; Jordan, Rebecca, David, Madison, Anna and Callie.
Jordan (volleyball) and Rebecca (basketball) were college student-athletes with David currently a member of the Loper football team, Madison a volleyball player at Bellevue University (Neb.) and Anna about to be a freshman volleyball player at UNK.