Kreklows step down after 19 seasons with Missouri volleyball

Joshua Taylor will take over the program as interim head coach.
Missouri volleyball coach Wayne Kreklow has been at the helm of coaching the program for about two decades, but his staff has always been a family affair, with his wife, Susan, coaching since he took over the program and his niece, Molly Taylor, helping coach the program the last two seasons.

Following 19 seasons with Missouri volleyball, head coach Wayne Kreklow and Director of Volleyball Susan Kreklow announced their retirement from the program.

“It’s been the best 19 years that we’ve ever had,” Wayne Kreklow said. “We couldn’t be anymore grateful to everybody at Mizzou.”

The coaching duo announced their decision to their players Thursday night in an emotional team meeting.

“It was kind of just a shock and really emotional,” redshirt senior libero Riley Sents said. “Obviously we all love Wayne and Susan so hearing that, we were not expecting that. There was a lot of tears, lots and lots of tears shed last night.”

Under the leadership of the Kreklows, the Tigers reached 15 NCAA Tournaments, including four Sweet Sixteen appearances and one Elite Eight finish.

“When you go into Hearnes, all those banners are up there are because of Wayne and Susan,” interim head coach Joshua Taylor said.

Taylor credits much of the Kreklows success to their work ethic and drive.

“They just gave everything they had,” Taylor said. “I don’t think there was a moment when they gave half of themselves to anything. I don’t think they really became satisfied with their success. That coupled with great knowledge of the game really allowed them to be successful over the years and it’s something I’m really gonna try and emulate.”

The husband-wife duo has produced 22 All-American players and taken home two SEC Championship titles, but it is the culture and relationships they built in Hearnes Center that sticks out to their players.

“Wayne and Susan mean the world to me,” Sents said. “The culture that they built was the number one reason that I came here. I’m from a really small town, and I know a lot of us are from really far away, but the family culture that they have established is absolutely unmatched. Obviously, on the court, they are awesome coaches and great people to learn from, and I’m grateful that we had them there, but off the court, as well, they’ve done absolutely everything that they can for us.”

While Wayne has had some health issues that have accelerated the idea of retirement, the Kreklows ultimately made the decision to step down now based on their players. Following a 24-8 season that ended in the second round of the NCAA tournament, the Kreklows feel the team will be in a position to continue its success.

“Our biggest overriding concern with all of this was to make sure our kids were taken care of,” Wayne Kreklow said. “We want these guys to have success and the last thing we would ever do was walk away if we thought things were gonna struggle.”

A familiar husband-wife duo will become the new face of Missouri volleyball as Joshua Taylor steps into the role of interim head coach and his wife, Molly Taylor, remains on staff as an assistant.

“There’s not a ton of husband-wife couples coaching,” Joshua Taylor said. “To have that kind of example [from the Kreklows] has been huge for Molly and I.”

The Taylors have had the opportunity to learn from the Kreklows the past two seasons as assistant coaches. Molly Taylor also had the opportunity to play under Wayne and Susan Kreklow, her uncle and aunt, for four years at Missouri.

“Wayne has really trusted us to take a big load when it comes to coaching,” Joshua Taylor said. “Being able to do that and being allowed to fail at times and still be able to come back to him and say ‘hey how can we get it a little bit better, what did I do wrong, help me here,’ that’s just invaluable.”

As the Tigers look to the upcoming season, they will return four players who earned All-SEC honors, including All-American honorable mention Kylie Deberg.

“The program, in general, has so much potential,” Molly Taylor said. “We have great girls, a lot of support with the community, a lot of support from our administration, so I think it’s really exciting where it can still go. I think obviously with the foundation that’s been built, it’s in a really good spot. I think all of the girls are really excited and really invested in the program. We’re clearly invested in the program. We plan to be here as long as we can be, and we’re excited about the future.”

Edited by Emily Leiker | eleiker@themaneater.com

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