The 1987 volleyball season was the beginning of a new era at Doane College as Cindy Meyer took over the coaching reigns. Twenty-six years and 664 wins later, Meyer has chosen to go out on top and retire as Doane volleyball coach following another successful season that ended with a bid to the NAIA National Tournament.
Meyer caps off a 26-year college coaching career, all at Doane, with a record of 664-314. She coached Doane teams to nine NAIA National Championship Tournaments, including four in the past five years.
When she took over the program, Doane had five seasons of 20-plus wins since the start of the sport at the college in 1972. During her years as head coach, Doane had only five seasons when they did not have 20-plus wins. Overall, she totaled 747 wins between college and high school stops.
"It has been an absolute pleasure to coach the Doane volleyball players for the past 26 years," Meyer commented. "Their relationships mean so much to me. I have really loved coaching with all of my assistants and thank them for all their support. One of my joys of coaching at Doane was coaching with Tami Marvin for 20 of the 26 years. She is a dear friend and we share the same passion for Doane volleyball.
"I began my coaching career at Doane with coaches Bob Erickson, Fred Beile and Ed Fye and they served as mentors for me, always keeping their door open to provide advice and support. Their passion for coaching was much like mine which made the early transition much easier. I hope to serve as mentor to the current and future coaches at Doane and pass along the tradition of support.
"Now I have the opportunity to continue to educate students while also having time to spend with family and friends. The future for Doane volleyball is bright and I look forward to supporting the student-athletes as they excel on and off the court."
Meyer will continue at Doane as an associate professor in the physical education department as she has for the past 26 years.
"Coach Meyer created a legacy of excellence in every area we value at Doane," Athletic Director Greg Heier said. "She was deeply committed to developing student-athletes who were not only champions in their sport but also champions of character in all of their endeavors. Her players excelled in the classroom and conducted themselves with respect for the game and their competition."
Meyer has coached athletes to 24 NAIA All-Americans, 116 all-conference honors with 53 earning First Team recognition and 37 NAIA Scholar-Athlete honors. Her squads have annually been on the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Academic Team list.
Heier added "Her teams consistently competed at the top level of the highly competitive Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC), winning the tournament championship in her final season and qualifying for the NAIA volleyball tournament in four of her final five seasons.
"She is deeply committed to Doane College and our volleyball program and we are fortunate that she will continue with Doane full-time as an associate professor of physical education. I'm extremely pleased that she will be available to assist in the transition as we begin the selection process for our next volleyball coach."
Cindy Meyer began her collegiate coaching career on September 2 with a road match at College of St. Mary. The two teams battled through five sets with Doane winning the match in Meyer's first game as coach, 10-15, 19-17, 14-16, 15-13 and 17-15.
During her first two seasons, she was able to turn to one of the top players in the country in Lori Stueckrath. The middle blocker was a two-time All-American under Meyer; earning First Team honors her senior season. Stueckrath was Doane's first All-American in volleyball.
Meyer coached a player to NAIA All-American honors in 19 of her 26 season. Athletic success wasn't all that she coached. Doane volleyball has annually been on the American Volleyball Coaches Association academic list and numerous players have been named NAIA and GPAC Scholar-Athletes.
In 1990, Doane defeated Washburn University in straight sets at the Fort Hays State Invitational for her 100th coaching win at the college. The season closed with Meyer guiding the Tigers to the NAIA National Tournament, her first and the school's second appearance.
Northwestern College became Coach Meyer's 200th victory in 1993 at the Dordt Invitational. Doane advanced to the NAIA National Tournament again in 1994 as three teams from the then-Nebraska Iowa Athletic Conference (NIAC) qualified.
Meyer and her teams had a long run of rivalry games with Hastings College through the years. The Broncos were victims of her 300th and 400th career wins. In 1997, the Tigers defeated Hastings in the regional tournament on their way to a berth to the national championship. In 2002, the Tigers defeated the Broncos in the First Round of the GPAC Tournament. Doane was the regular season and post-season champion of the conference that season as they once again qualified for nationals. Meyer received GPAC Coach-of-the-Year honors while Lissa Hagemann was named the GPAC Player-of-the-Year.
Doane returned to the NAIA National Tournament in 2005 after upsetting Hastings in the opening round of the regional tournament. Doane placed third at the regional and capped the season with a five-set thriller over Cedarville University. In 2006, Meyer reached the 500 win plateau with a three-set victory over Dakota Wesleyan University.
The 2008 season was the start of three consecutive appearances at the national meet as well as the first of five straight appearances in the GPAC Tournament Championship match.
In 2010, the season was highlighted by Meyer's 600th win which made her only the third coach in Nebraska collegiate coaching history to achieve the mark. The Tigers picked up the victory over Morningside College. Meyer joined former Nebraska coach Terry Pettit and former Nebraska-Kearney coach Rosella Meier as the only coaches to hit 600 wins coaching at a Nebraska collegiate institution.
The Tigers went 29-6 in 2011, one of the best seasons in the Meyer era. Doane, however, was held out of the NAIA post-season as they were unable to earn an at-large berth. Susan Rollman, a junior at the time, was named the GPAC Player-of-the-Year.
The past season had high expectations as Doane was the preseason favorite in the closest vote ever for the GPAC preseason poll. Five teams received a first place votes in the poll.
Doane opened the season with a trip to Montana where they defeated three teams in the preseason poll. It was followed up with a pair of victories over ranked teams at a classic in Iowa.
At the end of September, the two winningest active coaches in Nebraska faced off as the Tigers took on Coach Rick Squiers and the University of Nebraska-Kearney. Squiers became the fourth coach to achieve 600 wins in the Nebraska collegiate ranks, earning victories at Hastings and UNK. The Lopers picked up the victory in a highly competitive match.
The Tigers closed the season with a five-match win streak as they earned the No. 2 seed in the GPAC Tournament. In the tournament, Doane claimed three victories in five-set matches to claim the title. The victory over Hastings in the championship gave Doane the automatic berth to the NAIA Tournament and the first post-season GPAC title since 2002.
Through all the years, she has built success on and off the court. However, it wasn't only with those that played in the Doane volleyball program. The individual and team camps she has held over the summers have touched so many young volleyball players, helping them to grow in the game by learning the importance of fundamentals, character and team work. It has been these traits that have made Doane volleyball successful over the years.
Story from Rick Schmuecker at Doane