The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

July 9, 2013

Southern names Kirkman interim volleyball coach

The Joplin Globe

— Less than two months before taking the court for its first matches of the season, the Missouri Southern volleyball team has a coach.

Rachel Kirkman will serve as the program’s interim head coach for the 2013 season, Missouri Southern director of athletics Jared Bruggeman announced on Monday.

The team had been without a coach since Trish Knight was relieved of her head coaching duties on May 12.

Kirkman was an assistant under Knight last season, when the Lions completed an 0-30 season. A search for Kirkman’s replacement as an assistant will begin immediately.

“I’m happy to bring in someone with a familiarity to the program and this team,” Bruggeman said in a release. “Rachel is an excellent coach, and her knowledge and experience with our team will be a great asset. I am excited to see her begin her collegiate head coaching career.”

After graduating from Evangel University in 2008, Kirkman spent a season as the head coach at Raymondville Middle School before taking the varsity job at Eldon High School until coming to MSSU last season.

“I’m excited and very grateful for the opportunity to be able to lead this team in the 2013 season,” Kirkman said. “As the assistant coach last year, I was able to build a strong relationship with the team and I know the potential that is there. I’ve stayed in touch with the girls over the summer, and I know they have been working hard in preparing for this upcoming season.”

Kirkman played collegiately, one year and William Woods and three at Evangel. She was a three-time academic all-American at Evangel.

She takes over a Lions team that compiled a 5-55 record over the last two seasons. They will begin the season on Sept. 6 at the Pittsburg State Invitational.

“Last season we were young, with up to five freshmen on the floor at a time,” Kirkman said in the release. “However, this helped us gain some experience and with a strong group of returners, paired with four very talented additions, we are looking forward to and have high hopes for this season.”