Kneifl named AVCA Coach of the Year


The American Volleyball Coaches Association announced Thursday morning that Wayne State College head volleyball coach Scott Kneifl was named the Division II National Coach of the Year. 

This season, Kneifl has coached the Wildcats to a 31-3 record that ended Thursday with a five-set loss to Cal State-Los Angeles. Wayne State captured a second straight Northern Sun Conference regular season title this season, going a perfect 18-0 in NSIC play. The Wildcats had a 21-game win streak this season – the second-longest in school history – and was ranked No. 1 in the AVCA/TARAFLEX Div. II Top 25 Coaches Poll for a school-record nine straight weeks. 

Last weekend, Wayne State captured a second NCAA Central Region title posting wins over No. 15 Minnesota Duluth (3-0), No. 13 Nebraska-Kearney (3-2) and No. 2 Concordia-St. Paul (3-1) in the championship match to advance to the NCAA Elite Eight for the second time in school history. 

Under Kneifl, Wayne State's second straight NSIC regular season title this year marks the first time a team in the NSIC captured back-to-back, outright league titles since Concordia-St. Paul won eight straight NSIC titles from 2003-10. This year's perfect 18-0 league mark by the Wildcats was the first time since Minnesota Duluth in 2014 (20-0) that a team went through Northern Sun Conference play unbeaten. 

This season, Kneifl was also voted Northern Sun Conference Coach of the Year for a second straight season and fourth time overall (2005, 2009, 2022, 2023) along with AVCA Central Region Coach of the Year for a second straight year. 
Kneifl has coached Wayne State to back-to-back 30 wins seasons – 30-3 last season — and the Wildcats have been nationally ranked for 17 straight seasons. 

In his 19th year as head coach, Kneifl has coached the Wildcats to records of 451-144 and 261-87 in Northern Sun Conference play. His 450th career victory came last Friday in the Wildcats' 3-2 NCAA Central Region semifinal victory over Nebraska-Kearney. Kneifl has led Wayne State to 20-wins seasons in 18 of his 19 years on the Wildcat bench – 19-12 in 2017 – and has guided the Wildcats to 13 NCAA National Tournament appearances, two NCAA Central Region titles, two Northern Sun Conference regular season titles, one NSIC Tournament championship (2007) and an NCAA Final Four appearance in 2015.

He will officially be presented with his National Coach of the Year Award in person next Thursday, Dec. 14 at the AVCA Awards Banquet in Tampa, Fla., at the NCAA Division I Final Four.