Head Coach Paula Wiedemann
Paula Wiedemann returns for her fourth season as head coach of Missouri State University-West Plains Grizzly Volleyball team, and she is working to return the Grizzlies to the NJCAA Division I Women’s National Championship Tournament at the end of the 2012 campaign.
Over the past 15 seasons, Wiedemann, a native of Jenks, Okla., helped guide the Grizzlies to 11 Region 16 Championships and 11 consecutive NJCAA national championship tournament appearances, with six of those teams finishing in the final four. In addition, she helped develop 26 NJCAA All-Americans, 74 All-Region 16 players, 13 NJCAA Academic All-Americans, and eight NJCAA Academic Team Award winners. Wiedemann has an overall record of 582-157 with the team as an assistant coach and head coach.
“Coach Wiedemann has been an important part of Grizzly Volleyball for over a decade,” Missouri State-West Plains Chancellor Dr. Drew Bennett said. “She knows the campus, the community and the competition.”
During her first year as head coach, Wiedemann led the Grizzlies to a 27-9 record and a second-place finish in the 2009 NJCAA Division I Women’s National Volleyball Championships, marking the third time in the past eight seasons the Grizzlies finished the tournament in the runner-up spot. Two Grizzlies, Kate Stepanova and Patricia Figueiredo, were named NJCAA and AVCA first-team All-Americans. The team also earned a 2009 Fall Academic Team Award, and two Grizzlies earned NJCAA Academic All-American awards – Danielle Parker as a Distinguished Academic All-American honoree and Abbey Roam as an Academic All-American honoree.
In 2010, a very young Grizzly team showed improvement throughout the season, but the group fell short of its goal of reaching the NJCAA national championship tournament for the 12th consecutive year. The Grizzlies finished the season with an 18-17 record, and sophomore Lia Havili was named NJCAA Honorable Mention All-American for her efforts on the court. The team also earned a 2010 NJCAA Academic Team of the Year Award, and sophomore Janel Glidden was awarded the Superior Academic Achievement Award (formerly Distinguished Academic All-American Award).
In 2011, another young Grizzly team showed great improvement by returning to the NJCAA national poll and ending the year ranked 17th. The team fell short of its goal of reaching the NJCAA national championship tournament but saw progress throughout the season to build upon. The Grizzlies finished the season with a 26-12 record, and Freshman Candyce Alexander was named NJCAA 2nd Team All-American and AVCA Honorable Mention All-American for her efforts on the court. The team earned a 2011 NJCAA Academic Team of the Year Award and AVCA Team Academic Award, and sophomores Abby Hanger and Colbi Goff were awarded the Exemplary Academic Achievement Award (formerly Academic All-American Award).
As a player Wiedemann set the standard for volleyball excellence at Drury University in Springfield. A letterman each year from 1985 to 1988, Wiedemann was the first volleyball player to receive NAIA All-American honors by being named honorable mention in 1987 and to the second team in 1988. She left Drury ranked first in career kills and career digs, the latter of which is second on the all-time list for NAIA records nationwide. The Lady Panthers were nationally ranked during her sophomore, junior and senior years, reaching as high as No. 5 during her senior season, and the team won the district championship – Drury’s first ever district championship – her senior year.
After receiving her bachelor’s degree in corporate fitness in 1989, she rejoined the Lady Panthers as an assistant coach for two years while earning her master’s degree in education-exercise and sport science from the university. The Lady Panthers posted an overall record of 65-40 during her tenure, and in 1990, the team was a district finalist. As an assistant at Drury, Wiedemann helped develop one NAIA All-American and four all-district players.
Wiedemann’s first head coaching position came in August 1992 at East Central College in Union, Mo., where she led the Lady Rebels to Region 16 championship semifinal appearances all three years. She also has served as program director/coach for Junior Olympic volleyball programs for 18 years.
In addition, Wiedemann has played volleyball professionally. She was the starting outside hitter for the Kansas City Lightning of the National Volleyball Association (NVA). In their first season, the Lightning won the regular season title and was one match away from the NVA finals. She also was a member of Power Angle, a USAV women’s team and was a two-time All-American in 1997 and 1998 at the USAV national tournaments.
Paula and her husband, Warren, have three daughters: Kelly, 12; Lily, 5; and Emma, 3.
“Paula is an outstanding athlete and coach,” said Dr. Herb Lunday, Dean of Student Services and Athletic Director. “She was a collegiate All-American and even played professionally for a time. She knows the game of volleyball very well, has outstanding rapport with student-athletes and is highly respected by her coaching peers. We think the Lady Grizzlies’ tradition of excellence is in good hands.”
Assistant Coach Briana "Bri" Walsh
Briana Walsh, a native of Clever, Mo., is in her first season as the Grizzlies’ assistant coach.
An all-state honoree from Clever High School, Bri helped lead her team to 4 district championships and was named conference MVP her Senior season while finishing with a 33-3 record. She began her college career at Missouri State University-West Plains as an outside attacker where she helped guide the Grizzlies to two Region 16 Championships in 2008 and 2009, as well as seventh and second place finishes, respectively, at the NJCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship Tournament. She earned All-Region 16 honors both years.
Bri graduated from Missouri State University-West Plains in 2010 with an Associate of Arts in General Studies degree and transferred to Evangel University in Springfield where she played for the Crusaders during the 2010 and 2011 seasons. While at Evangel, she received second-team All-HAAC honors her junior year and helped her team win Evangel’s first Conference championship. Her senior year, she received first-team All-HAAC honors as well as being named All-American. She is only the fifth Evangel player to receive All-American honors. She ended her senior season second in the conference in hitting percentage, and fourth in kills per set. Finishing with a 29-6 record made her senior season and .829 winning percentage, the best in school history. Walsh used her fifth year of eligibility playing basketball for the Crusaders under Hall of Fame coach Leon Neal. Bri was only the second athlete in the last 10 years to play on two different sports teams and the first one in a decade to serve as a starter on both teams. Last year she was a graduate assistant for the Crusader volleyball team as well as for the Sports Information Department.
"I'm very excited to have Bri back as part of the Grizzly Volleyball family," head coach Paula Wiedemann said. "She has a passion for the game of volleyball and a love for teaching. She understands what our program represents on and off the court, the goals we want to achieve and knows what it takes to get there. She made an impact on our program as a player and I have no doubt she will do the same in her position as assistant coach. Her level of enthusiasm and the attitude she brings with her every day will make an impression on our players."
Bri received a Bachelor of Science degree in Sport Management and minored in Physical Education and Sports Administration. She was one of five students who were named as Outstanding Graduates in the Kinesiology Department. Bri is currently working on a master's degree in Secondary Education at Evangel University, and will graduate in the spring of 2015.
Assistant Coach Warren Wiedemann
Warren is in his 10th year as an assistant coach for the Grizzly Volleyball team. A USAV All-American in 1998, he brings 20 years of playing experience to the program. Warren, a native of Washington, Missouri, is a sergeant with the Missouri State Highway Patrol Troop G Criminal Investigation Unit and has been a member of the patrol for 22 years. Warren and his wife, Paula, have three daughters, Kelly, Lily and Emma.
Athletic Trainer Keri Elrod
Keri, a certified athletic trainer and strength/conditioning specialist, is beginning her ninth season with the Grizzlies in that capacity. As the university’s coordinator of aquatics and wellness, Keri also oversees operation of the pool and fitness center at the West Plains Civic Center. A former member of the Grizzly volleyball team and NJCAA Academic All-American (1996), Keri graduated from Missouri State University-West Plains in May 1997 with an Associate of Arts in General Studies degree. She received a Bachelor of Science in Sports Medicine/Athletic Training in December 2000 and a Bachelor of Science in Education in May 2001, at Missouri State University. She received a Master of Arts in Education in May 2003 from Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, North Carolina.
Dean of Students/Director of Ahtletics Dr. Herb Lunday
Dr. Lunday, dean of student services, begins his 19th year as director of athletics at Missouri State University-West Plains. Under his leadership, the Grizzly volleyball and basketball programs continue to receive excellent institutional and community support. Both teams have responded with highly successful records on the court, as well as impressive academic achievement and considerable involvement in a variety of community service activities off the court. Dr. Lunday also provides hands-on guidance in athletics fund-raising and promotions. In his position as dean of student services, he is a strong proponent of planning, professional efficiency, the use of technology, and especially, providing quality service to all students. Dr. Lunday earned his doctorate and master’s degrees from the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville and his bachelor’s degree from Arkansas Tech University. He and his wife, Mary Beth, have one son, Aaron, and wife Kim.
Administrative Assistant Chris Turner
Christine “Chris” Turner is a native of West Plains, a graduate of West Plains High School and a former student at Missouri State-West Plains. She is the wife of Keith Turner, a driver for UPS and member of the United Men’s Quartet. They have two daughters, Stacie and Ashley, both of whom married ministers. Stacie and her husband, Christopher, live in Killen, Alabama and have two daughters of their own: Hannah and Kaylee. Ashley and her husband, Andrew Rains, live in Lebanon, Missouri and are expecting their first child in January 2012. Chris said she enjoys spending time with her granddaughters, cooking, shopping, traveling and hanging out with her church family from United Freewill Baptist Church. She also enjoys sports.