History of Club Bear

Club Bear was founded in 1996-97 when Melissa Stokes, Head Volleyball Coach for Southwest Missouri State University (now Missouri State University), wanted to begin a quality volleyball program for young female athletes in Southwest Missouri. With Coach Stoke's guidance and support, Club Bear was formed.

During Club Bear's first year, a single director, Peter Peng, administered the volleyball program and established long-range plans for the organization. Club Bear continues to support the original long-range plans by being committed to the youth served through the sport of volleyball. During the second year, a board of directors was established and the organization received its nonprofit status. It was during this year that a Club Bear 16s team qualified at a National Juniors Tournament. Club Bear has continued to compete at the highest level with many young women athletes continuing their education through the sport of volleyball at the collegiate level.

In 2005, Club Bear began a 10 and under program developed by the Heart of America region to introduce the youngest athletes to the sport of volleyball. The purpose of this program is to encourage participation in the sport of volleyball by providing an opportunity for developmental growth through contact with the ball. The more contact players have with the ball, the quicker their skills develop.

Club Bear's coaching staff is comprised of coaches at all levels. All Club Bear coaches are IMPACT certified; Caira Dortch, (Head Coach Southwest Baptist University),Mallory Lawson (Assistant Coach, Evangel University) are CAP I certified. Jerry Schneider (Head Coach Marionville, HS), Barry Wheeler(Head Coach Holden HS), Deirdre Smith(Head Coach Catholic HS), Chris Smith, Robin Collins(Head Coach Hillcrest HS) and Sue Daugherty are all CAP II certified.

The Club Bear coaching staff has a great passion for the game of volleyball and strives to further educate themselves to deliver a quality program to the youth they serve.

Although Club Bear is no longer part of the Missouri State University program, the club has continued to grow and serve athletes in Southwest Missouri so they can compete a high levels around the country. Club Bear will be forever grateful to the founders of the program and will continue their vision for volleyball in Southwest Missouri.