BCU Celebrates 50 Years of Volleyball on the Cliff
September 26, 2018 | by Baily Sitzmann
Homecoming week on the Cliff is always something special on and off campus as students, faculty, alumni and the community come together
o watch all the sports teams square off with various rivals, and to be involved in the many events all throughout the week.
The 2018 homecoming is packed with excitement as the women’s volleyballteam “sets” up at 6:00 p.m. Friday night to take on Saint Mary and 5:30 p.m. Saturday night to take on cross town rivals, the Morningside Mustangs. This is extra special this year because it is the 50thanniversary of women’s volleyball on The Cliff.
Women’s volleyball started at BCU in the fall of 1969 with the help of the first ever women’s volleyball coach for the Cliff, Marian Pesky. She said she wanted the women on campus to have the same opportunities that the men on campus had. However, the women were not quite on the same level as the men back then as they were in the IACODA Conference, unlike the men who were in the NAIA Conference already.
“We started in the IACODA with several surrounding schools but we started with nothing. The girls had to drive themselves, buy their own uniforms, and they had to share their uniforms with basketball and eventually softball. We virtually had nothing,” said Marian Pesky, the Champions of Character administrator.
Pesky talked about how she loves working at BCU and seeing the changes that have been made throughout her time here. She said though the women were late starting out, they really stepped up when they got going, especially when the NAIA finally let them join.
“Our team in 1979 was the only team at that point in time to have a women’s team/sport of any sort make it to a national championship in all of Iowa. It was an amazing experience for me and the team,” said the first ever BCU Women’s Volleyball coach.
Volleyball now has many new amenities and opportunities that they did not have in the past. The NAIA offers the schools in its conference several scholarships for students so they can attend universities/colleges to play a specific sport without the burden of a full tuition bill.
Pesky said, “Back in the late 70s our top player, Mary, she would have been all conference, and her scholarship would have only been $300. You can see just how far we have progressed from there because today she probably would have a full ride. It is nice that everything is more equitable nowadays.”
2018 is a new time and that is what this year’s team and coaches are focusing on. The 2018 team is currently 9-6 on the year but is hopeful they will only improve, and said Men and Women’s Head Volleyball Coach, Trevor Schirman said they have the key things they need to do so.
“We have gotten better over the year but so have the GPAC (Great Plains Athletic Conference)teams. We are not always beating them, but we are competing with them. We will continue to flourish with this group of girls for sure,” Coach Schirman said.
With the 50thyear anniversary of women’s volleyball being celebrated during Homecoming week it brings out the best in everyone. There are alumni, previous players and coaches and community members who will be back to celebrate along with the school and current team.
Athletic Director Nic Nelson said, “Women’s volleyball has a tremendous tradition of success at Briar Cliff. We are really excited to welcome our volleyball alums back to campus for Homecoming and the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the program.”