Herald-Whig

Meyer 'doesn't regret anything' after being let go by QND

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QND volleyball coach Rich Meyer. | H-W Photo/Michael Kipley
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Dec. 4, 2017 10:40 pm Updated: Dec. 5, 2017 8:38 am

QUINCY -- When Hannah Peters heard the news that Rich Meyer had been fired as the girls volleyball coach at Quincy Notre Dame, she went home and cried for a couple of hours.

"I was really upset," said Peters, a senior on this year's team. "He's been my coach since the seventh grade. He's taught me everything I know. It's kind of hard that he got let go for some reasons I don't understand."

MEYER'S RECORD AT QND

2011: 26-9 (1st in state)
2012: 28-8
2013: 29-7
2014: 28-9
2015: 34-4
2016: 23-12-1
2017: 32-8
Total: 203-57-1

Athletic director Bill Connell sent a press release to the local media early Monday afternoon announcing that Meyer would not return to coach the Raiders in 2018.

Meyer led QND to a 33-9 record and a second-place finish in the Class 2A state tournament this year. He guided the Raiders to a Class 2A state title during his first season at the school in 2011. His teams had a combined record of 204-59-1 in seven seasons, winning four regional titles and three sectional titles.

Asked why the school would release Meyer, Connell said he "couldn't get into specifics."

"When it's a personnel deal, it's kind of locked," he said. "A lot of times, I can talk more than you want me to talk, but not now."

Meyer said he was told the program would be going "in a different direction" when he met with Connell on Monday.

"It wasn't my decision," he said. "I figured I had things in place, and we were going to be fairly decent the next few years.

"It all comes down to the fact winning isn't enough for some people."

Next year's team is expected to return outside hitter Sydney Hummert, who had 376 kills this season, along with middle hitter Monica Brown, setters Maddie Peters and Lauren Roberts, and outside hitter Erin Carey and sophomores Taylor Keck and Meredith Siebers, who Meyer inserted into the lineup late this past season -- a move that spurred the Raiders' run to the state tournament.

"I did everything I could to make the team the best it could be. I don't regret anything," Meyer said.

Another late-season move by Meyer was putting Hannah Peters, an outside hitter, at libero to help the team's defense. Hannah Peters won't be back next season, but sisters Maddie and Ellie are expected to return.

Hannah thought most of the players on the team got along with Meyer.

"The people who didn't play, they wanted him gone," she said. "They shouldn't get rid of him for that.

"We've all had our ups and downs with him. He's not our best friend. He's not going to do what makes everybody happy. A lot of us liked him for different reasons, but I don't think (school officials) asked the opinions of the players who liked him."

Asked if he had met with Meyer during the season to let him know of problems in the program, Connell said, "I meet with my coaches a lot. That's my job."

Meyer said he met with Connell once during the season, and he was given no indication of problems. However, he knew why he received an 8 a.m. phone call from Connell on Monday.

"I knew exactly what they were doing," he said. "Bill doesn't call you up the day after you give out the awards (at a Sunday night postseason banquet) unless the only purpose was to fire me. I've been through this before. I'm not a greenhorn."

Meyer also was released of his duties coaching the junior high school teams in the Quincy Catholic Crusaders program, which was scheduled to have tryouts this week.

As for Meyer's replacement, Connell said, "How I'm moving forward and when I'm moving forward, obviously that's going to happen soon. Those things will be answered later."

Meyer is the second QND coach to be fired in the past nine months. Andy Waggoner learned in March he would not be retained as the girls basketball coach after guiding the Raiders to an 8-16 record.

Meyer's coaching career began in 1981 at Central in Camp Point, where his teams won 573 games. He also coached at Western in Barry and at Culver-Stockton College in Canton, Mo. His high school teams have a combined record of 811-327-1.

Meyer said he's unsure if he's finished coaching volleyball and will take time to mull it over.

"I still might look for another job," Meyer said. "I've had a great 2017. My eighth grade team played for a state championship, my high school team played for a state championship, and I won my 800th game. But it's Christmas time, and I got a lump of coal in my sock.

"We'll see what happens. I'll think about it for a while."

Sports Writer Mat Mikesell also contributed to this story.