New Men’s Volleyball Team Takes Simpson by Storm


Simpsonian file photo

Varsity sport additions preparing for their first season.

by Taryn Bertini, Staff Reporter

Last fall, Athletic Director Marty Bell announced that a men’s volleyball program would be added to the list of sports teams at Simpson for the 2022-23 school year.

Head coach of the women’s volleyball team, Kekailoa Palea, will be in charge of the new men’s team which starts their first season this spring.

“The most exciting thing about this season is just building the program in general and seeing where we can take it.” Palea said.

There are no high school men’s volleyball teams in the state of Iowa, so Palea said it was difficult recruiting men to come to Simpson. He had to turn to club volleyball teams, and even those are limited with players.

“In a state where boys volleyball is not a high exposure sport for boys to play, it makes it tough to recruit from your backyard,” he said.

Simpson is only the ninth college in Iowa in NCAA Division III and NAIA levels to include a men’s volleyball team on campus. This made it harder to recruit players to Simpson’s new program.

Palea said adding a men’s volleyball team to the list of sports offered at Simpson was a joint effort to add more sports to the college as a whole and of himself wanting to grow the game.

“We have tremendous support for administration and our department, not to mention all the new facilities we will have for a new program,” he said.

Palea explained that building a program completely from scratch is difficult considering the logistics of everything including practice, scheduling and budgetary needs. 

“Getting the word out and trying to get guys out here to play will be a challenge the first few years, but we are trying everything possible to build a good roster. We will definitely get there,” Palea said.

First-year Jackson Fehring-Terrell is a Des Moines native who decided to come to Simpson to play volleyball.

“The reason I decided to go to Simpson was because the coaches on the volleyball team are very convincing and it’s a new program, so I’m excited to be a part of the beginning of all of it,” Fehring-Terrell said.

There is a lot of excitement and nerves surrounding the men’s first season, but Fehring-Terrell explains he is excited to become the best player he can and learn from the coaches. He admittedly is mostly just excited to play, however.

The idea of a brand-new program and the first men’s volleyball team in the history of Simpson was a large selling point during recruitment.

Sophomore Max Robinson is currently on the football team but said he decided to play volleyball in the spring as well because he couldn’t pass up the opportunity when it was presented to him.

“I’m most excited to meet my new teammates and play for a great coaching staff. It will be awesome to say I was part of the first men’s volleyball team here at Simpson,” Robinson said.

The men are set to begin their first season this coming spring.