John Napier was named the head coach of the Missouri Southern volleyball team on December 23, 2013. He comes to Southern after a season as an assistant at Division I Boston College.
Napier's previous Division-I coaching experience includes six years as the top assistant at the University of Akron in Ohio and almost a decade as the volunteer and full-time assistant at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona.
Throughout his time at Akron, he also served for three years as the co-director and coach of the Akron Canton Elite (A.C.E.) Junior Olympic volleyball club where he was the head coach of the 17s team. Other head coaching experience includes three years as the women's All Air Force indoor and beach coach and one year as the men's indoor and beach coach.
Napier has been active in the sport of volleyball for nearly 30 years. Some highlights of his playing career include two years on the Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP) beach tour where he still holds the distinction of being one of two male players from Ohio to place in the top 20 of any AVP beach tournament.
Napier also had an extensive indoor playing career for the Air Force and All Armed Forces teams. His eight-year playing career for the Air Force team includes several appearances on the All-Star team as well as six gold medals at the Armed Forces Championships.
In 2002, Napier graduated from The University of Akron with a master's degree in Education with an emphasis in sports science/coaching. His bachelor's degree in business organizational communication also is from Akron.
The Akron, Ohio, native has served 22.5 years in the Air Force and Air Force Reserves and just recently retired in the rank of major. Napier earned a degree in business organizational communication from the University of Akron in 1995 and his masters from Akron in 2002.
The Napier File:
2013: Boston College (Assistant Coach)
2009-2012: U.S. Air Force (Head Coach, Men's and Women's Beach Volleyball)
2008-2012: U.S. Air Force (Head Coach, Men's and Women's Indoor Volleyball)
2009-2012: Northern Arizona University (Volunteer Assistant Coach)
2005-2009: Northern Arizona University (Assistant Coach)
2002-2005: Northern Arizona University (Volunteer Assistant Coach)
1999-2002: The University of Akron (Assistant Coach)
1992-1995: The University of Akron (Assistant Coach)
Rachel Kirkman is in her second season as an assistant coach for the Lions after serving as the interim head coach during the 2013 season.
An experienced setter at the collegiate level, Kirkman worked with the Lions' setters last season and helped freshman Abby Finder emerge as one of the best young setters in the MIAA.
A 2008 graduate of Evangel University in Springfield, Kirkman was a four-year starter in college at setter, playing her freshman season at William Woods, before transferring to Evangel.
While at Evangel, she was a three-time Academic All-American. After graduation, Kirkman spent a season as the 6th-8th grade volleyball coach at Raymondville Middle School, and then moved on to be the head varsity coach at Eldon High School the season after that.
Kirkman has a four-year old son, Daxon, and is married to Dustin Kirkman. The couple was married in November of 2012.