Simpson becomes 11th college in Iowa to host men’s volleyball


Morgan Flynn

Simpson College will be the 11th school in the state of Iowa to offer men’s volleyball.

by Morgan Flynn, Sports Editor

Simpson College announced the addition of another new sport, less than one month after the college announced men’s and women’s gymnastics – men’s volleyball is the newest addition to Simpson’s athletic department.

Adding men’s volleyball in addition to gymnastics is part of the larger strategic plan to draw more students to Simpson.

“Adding men’s volleyball is one of several key strategic initiatives for the athletic department and college that I fully endorse,” President Marsha Kelliher said in a press release. “It will give us an opportunity to expand the reach of our recruitment and enrollment efforts. New athletic teams and other co-curricular programming are vital components for Simpson’s goal of enhancing the student experience.”

Simpson will become the second Division III institution in Iowa and the second American Rivers Conference school to sponsor men’s volleyball. Men’s volleyball has been a growing sport, particularly at the NAIA level. Grand View University in Des Moines has been a powerhouse name and hosted the inaugural NAIA Men’s Volleyball National Championship in 2019 and hosted again in 2021.

Men’s volleyball is easier to add than some sports because of the existing facilities and equipment. It brings the athletic department to 22 varsity sports.

“Men’s volleyball will strengthen our academic and athletic profile while creating exciting new opportunities for our campus and community,” Bell said in a press release. “I believe this program can be successfully managed with strong leadership, and I am thrilled that coach Palea has agreed to accept this important responsibility.”

Not only will the new program create an opportunity to diversify the campus community, but it will also allow for a larger volleyball family on campus.

“Men’s volleyball is typically a faster game, so I think it will be very beneficial for us female players to learn from them,” junior Marissa Salber said.

Kekailoa “KK” Palea, the current women’s volleyball head coach, will also be coaching the men’s team starting during the 2022-23 season. Prior to his coaching career, Palea played volleyball at Graceland University from 2005-2008.

“There’s no one better to coach both teams than Coach KK,” sophomore Iman Ghalibaf said. “From playing college volleyball himself to coaching players at the division I level, his volleyball IQ is amazing. He’s an outstanding coach and has a great vision for both teams.”