Head Coach Rick Squiers
RICK SQUIERS has been a head volleyball coach for 30 years including 21 seasons at the University of Nebraska Kearney. To date, he has guided the Lopers to a 675-89 record, 21 NCAA Tournament births, 16 conference championships, four Elite Eight appearances, and two national runner up finishes. A 15-time Coach of the Year, Squiers has coached 38 All-American selections including AVCA National Players of the Year Erin Gudmundson (2005) and Annie Wolfe (2016). Prior to UNK, Squiers served as head coach for nearby Hastings College where he led the Broncos to a 206-59 record and three conference titles in six seasons. Squiers has amassed an overall win loss record of 982-182.
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. Right side Annie Wolfe also was named the D2 P.O.Y., earning the honor in 2016. The Omaha Marian graduate worked her way from the back row into a starting position her final two seasons.
Squiers has also seen 17 others make the All-Region team with 47 different Lopers earning All-RMAC or All-MIAA honors the past 19 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.
In 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.
Last fall, UNK won the MIAA tournament, shared regular season title honors with Missouri Western State and went 20-0 at home. Finally, senior middle Tara Ziegelbein repeated as an All-American with Squiers reaching the rare 900-win mark.
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-GVSU 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. He 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.
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 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 and Anna and Madison both UNK volleyball players.