When she started as coach of the Missouri volleyball team in February 2000, Susan Kreklow hoped to continue to build the program.
Four years and four NCAA Tournament appearances later, Kreklow has succeeded by a good margin. Missouri (19-10) had not reached the tournament before her arrival.
“There had not been much success in the past,” Kreklow said. “I felt the administration was headed in a direction to build.”
Kreklow leads the Tigers against the University of California-Irvine at 7:30 tonight in Los Angeles. If Missouri wins, it will play the UCLA-San Diego winner at 9 p.m. Saturday.
Missouri is looking for its second tournament win; last season the Tigers defeated Northwestern.
Kreklow said the Anteaters (23-9) are a physical team with good size and athletic hitters, something Missouri saw in the Big 12 Conference.
“Early on I was worried if they do stuff we struggle with,” Kreklow said. “But we match up really well and have a chance to be successful as long as we control what we can, serving aggressively and controlling the ball.”
Kreklow brought a tradition of success with her when she came to Missouri. As Columbia College coach, Kreklow won two national championships and had a 509-110 record. She is 89-36 at MU, for a 598-146 career record.
Kreklow said even with the success at Columbia College, she thought about moving to a Division I school, but that it needed to be an ideal situation.
“We loved Columbia, and when MU approached us, we thought we had the opportunity to build something here,” Kreklow said.
Kreklow said winning is a byproduct of the system the Missouri coaches have put in place.
“I think, as coaches, we just try to develop players and people,” Kreklow said. “We bring in kids who want to improve and we develop them to compete at a higher level.”
Those types of players were critical to Kreklow building a successful program.
“We knew it would be a process,” Kreklow said. “But we didn’t know how long it would take. We had to get the players who could compete on a national level, and we would see success when we did.”