COLUMBIA — Two-time Olympian Rose Obunaga has been playing volleyball for 25 years and is now the new volleyball coach for Stephens College.
"I'm looking forward to this job," Obunaga said. "Volleyball has been my passion."
Although Obunaga has only met three of the Stars' players, she said she is excited to start practices in June for next season.
While on the Kenyan women's national volleyball team, she played in the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, and again in 2004 in Athens, Greece.
Obunaga said the Olympics were fun and a "learning experience." At 5 feet 11 inches tall, Obunaga was one of the tallest players on her team, but that was short compared to the team's competition.
Obunaga moved from Kenya to Missouri in 2002 to play volleyball for Missouri State University-West Plains. That season, she led the Grizzlies in blocks and digs.
She spent a semester at Central Methodist University and then finished her undergraduate studies at Columbia College in 2006 with a bachelor's degree in arts and business administration. She played for the Cougars that season and became a student assistant volleyball coach there.
After earning her master's in public service administration from the University of Evansville in Indiana in 2011, Obunaga said she was happy to move back to Missouri.
"I like the atmosphere," Obunaga said of Stephens College and the positive vibes she had gotten from everyone she had met so far.
Obunaga's daughter, a junior at Rock Bridge High School, is also involved with volleyball. She will be playing for the Rock Bridge team and plays for a club team in St. Louis now, where her mother has been a coach. Obunaga's daughter has been playing since seventh grade.
Obunaga said she has tried to coach a volleyball team in every town she's lived.
In addition to playing on the Kenyan women's national volleyball team, Obunaga also played on the Kenya Pipeline Volleyball team.