Prep Volleyball

Meyer to spend 35th year of coaching at Unity

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QND volleyball coach Rich Meyer. | H-W Photo/Michael Kipley
Michael Kipley 1|
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Mar. 25, 2019 12:01 am Updated: Mar. 26, 2019 7:40 am

MENDON, Ill. -- Rich Meyer says it's good to feel wanted.

The veteran volleyball coach was recently contacted by someone involved in Unity athletics and asked if he would be interested in coaching the varsity volleyball team.

The job was his three days later.

Meyer was officially given the position at CUSD4 School Board meeting March 6. The resignations of head coach Alese Speckhart and assistant coach Rita Speckhart were approved at the board meeting on Dec. 19.

Meyer was the only candidate to complete the application process. Only one other person indicated interest, but they did not complete the application process.

Meyer, 72, lives in Quincy but spent last season at Liberty, guiding his team to a 16-15 record. The Eagles lost in the first round of the Class 1A regional at Western.

He'll start his 35th season on a high school bench this fall with a career record of 827-350-1. Quincy Notre Dame won a Class 2A state title in Meyer's first year there in 2011. He also coached for five years at Culver-Stockton College.

"When I took the Liberty job, I figured it would be the last place I would ever coach," Meyer said. "It was a shock that Unity opened up. It was really quick.

"I feel good that some people still want me."

It's a program that has enjoyed plenty of success, and more is on the way.

Unity was 26-11 last fall and won a Class 1A regional for the first time since 2012. The Mustangs have won 20 or more games 28 times in the last 35 seasons.

Nine players graduate from last year's team. There were six juniors, led by middle blockers Addison Eger and Krista Schrader. 

Unity's 7th graders were 23-1 and won the 7th grade state championship. The 8th graders were 18-7 and placed third in the 8th grade state tournament.

"I went to watch the eighth grade play at state, and they have good talent coming," Meyer said. "There's good talent left in the high school, too. The cupboard isn't empty."

Meyer coached one year of junior high school volleyball in Mendon before taking over the Quincy Catholic junior high school teams. He talked fondly about the volleyball rivalry built between Central and Unity during the 1980s and 1990s.

"The one thing that still keeps me going is that the kids bring a lot of energy to me," Meyer said. "When you're 72, you can sit on a chair all day or go to work with young people today."