Coach Bio’s


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David Rodgers, Club Director and Coach

David has been playing and coaching volleyball for 30 years. As we reel in the seasons we realize that volleyball is really about relationships – both on the off the court. Our devotion and commitment to each other will bring out the best in us. It’s not about winning and losing – it’s about becoming YOUR BEST. When you, as an individual, and you, as a team, become your best – amazing results unfold. A nurturing learning experience with “no fear of mistakes” helps you achieve YOUR BEST.
It’s not what you say about yourself, it’s what others say about you that is reality. One parent stated, “I don’t know how he does it. He’s always at least two steps ahead of the rest of us.” To achieve your goal you have to know your destination then, plan a path to get there.
In his early years, David was a sailor so he finds personal meaning in the quote: “We can’t direct the wind, but we can adjust our sails.” – Unknown
His volleyball motto is “Play free and have FUN!”

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Kyla Rodgers, Club Director and Coach

Kyla is the club director for Iowa Rockets Volleyball and has been playing volleyball for 30 years. She was a player at the USAV Women’s AA level and is a USAV Regional Referee, collegiate referee, Men’s Big 10 referee, and a CAP I USAV coach. She has taken teams to the USAV National Tournament, finishing as high as 2nd and 3rd in the nation. In 2003 she led Rockets 15s to a 1st place Regional finish and 3rd place in the Nation! Also, her teams have won National Qualifiers at 15s, 16s, 17s and the 18s level. In 2014 she led her team to a USAV Open division bid at Nationals. In 2015, her (somewhat of an underdog team in 16s) won the GOLD medal in a strong field at Iowa Regionals, completing the season with a great showing at Nationals. Though Kyla is an all-around coach, she specializes in attacking, blocking, and offense. Her larger perspective of the game of volleyball (and life) focuses on coaching the whole girl, learning the whole sport, and working(playing) together.

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Chin Nguyen, Coach

Chin has been playing volleyball for 30 years. He was part of the University of Iowa Men’s Club team during college and played at the AA level on a men’s team in Des Moines, Tulsa, & Chicago. He’s been a Rockets coach since 2004 & has also coached in Bend, OR. Chin is a CAP I USAV volleyball coach & has coached at the 12s thru 18s levels.   He has captured 1st at Iowa Regionals multiple times and 1st at three National Qualifiers. In 2013 his 18s team brought home a Gold medal by winning a USAV National Championship! Chin was the Iowa Region Coach of the Year in 2012 & joins the ranks of a very few Iowa coaches that has led his/her teams to not one…but two USAV Nationals Open division bids.  In 2018, his 13Black & 15R teams both brought home 3rd Place trophies from Nationals in Detroit.

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Jay Van Vark, Coach

Jay Van Vark is in his first season with Iowa Rockets, but he has a wealth of knowledge & coaching experience! He’s currently in China at the World Championships coaching the USA Women’s Armed Forces Team at & prior to that, was in Myanmar (Burma) in Southeast Asia coaching the Myanmar Men’s National Team. He’s been a head coach at a D1 program, as well as an assistant to numerous programs like Grand Canyon University, Ohio State, San Diego Sate & UC-Santa Barbara. He’s also coached boys & girls volleyball at the high school level in California for 10 years at Rancho Bernardo High School with a girls’ state title in 1994. During his college years at Iowa State, Jay played in a semi-pro indoor team with ACCO Sportswear, as well as beach with East Beach (AAA rated beach & grass player). Jay’s claim to fame is that in the late 80s, he was the youngest college official for the Big 8 (now Big 12 Conference). Jay will be the head coach for our top 18R team this season.

Lauren Hansen, Recruiting Coordinator

Lauren has a wealth of experience as a coach and a player. She played high school volleyball in the Chicago area and was a member of the highly touted Sky High VBC program. She has led her teams to top finishes in the Iowa Region. In 2011 her 17R team captured first place in the Iowa Region tournament. She has led 2 teams to third place finished at the highly competitive Chicago Power League. Her 2011 team got 3rd place at the USAV National Tournament and her 2014 team captured 2nd place at the USAV National Tournament. Lauren is an authorized high school coach and currently works at the Mercy Medical Center in the Hall-Perrine Cancer Center. This is her 7th year with Rockets. Lauren is also Rockets College Recruiting Coordinator which is a huge undertaking. She personally meets with parents and players to guide them through the difficult and confusing recruiting process. This past season, Lauren successfully helped 25 Iowa Rockets players find their college home!

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Don Jackson, Coach Emeritus

Don joined Iowa Rockets for 9 years after retiring from Procter & Gamble. Don’s love of the game began in college and he is actively involved in playing, coaching, and refereeing. He has 20 years of experience coaching youth sports at all skill levels. For the past 7 years, he has been a Lead coach for our U11/12 teams who have won numerous local and regional championships. In 2017 he led both 12 Black and 13 Black to National Division bids in Minneapolis. Don specializes in developing fundamental skills in our younger players, as well as mentoring our newer coaches. He was also the assistant varsity coach at Clear Creek Amana High School for 6 years. Though he is retired and move to Idaho, his heart is still with Rockets and you will see him again this fall.


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Stacey Ruff, Coach

Stacey has over 25 years of playing and coaching experience at the junior high, high school, club, and collegiate levels. Her tenure has included head coach at Hempstead HS in Dubuque (1997-1998), head and assistant coach at University of Dubuque (1999-2004), head coach at Augustana College in Rock Island, IL (2005-2007) and head coach at Pleasant Valley HS from 2008-2014. In her first year at PV, she led the 2008 team to its first State appearance since 1977 and then two more appearances in 2012 and 2013. Her 2012 team finished with a 38-2 record and a semi-finalist finish at the State tournament. She also established the Pleasant Valley Club Volleyball program in 2008. Her playing career includes one season at Northeast Missouri State (now Truman State) and 3 seasons at University of Dubuque. Ruff was inducted into the University of Dubuque Athletic Hall of Fame in 2006. Stacey Ruff is an AVCA (American Volleyball Coaches Association) member. She has been a Rockets coach since 2009, and has led her teams to numerous top three finishes at the Iowa Region Championship. In 2011 and 2012 her teams captured a USAV Qualifier championship and finished National Runner-up at the 2011 USAV Championships and 3rd place in 2013.


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Jeff Daugherty, Coach

Jeff has been playing volleyball year round for over 25 years. His first coaching opportunity came when he was a Sophomore in High School (now that was a just a few years ago!) He coached a 6th/7th grade little league baseball team because no parents would volunteer. Since then, Jeff has coached his own kids in volleyball, softball, basketball, t-ball, & soccer. For the last 8 years, he’s coached volleyball at North Central Jr. High in North Liberty. He’s also coached the last 8 years for Rockets, coaching his oldest daughter Maddie’s teams in 12’s, 13’s, & 14’s then switched to coach his younger daughter Kennedy’s teams  He coached her first year of 11’s in which they won Regionals and recently helped coach her Rockets 15’s team. They finished 5th at the Iowa Regional Championship and second place at Northern Lights Qualifier, not bad for being the third best Rocket’s team in that age group!

Don Ho Nguyen, Coach

Don has played volleyball for over 30 years. He started playing indoor and beach volleyball in Southern California. Don played 5 years in college with the University of Iowa Men’s Club team as a setter and outside hitter. Then he played USA Men’s indoor and outdoor volleyball in the Quad-Cities. Don also coached Alleman High School Sophomore team and as an assistant for the varsity. Don has coached for 6 years with Rockets, most recently with 18-1. In 2015, Don led his 17 Black team to a 5th place finish at Nationals in New Orleans. In 2016, Don was head coach for 18-1 and finished 13th at Nationals in Indianapolis. He is also a certified high school official in Iowa and Illinois. Don works in the IT department at John Deere head quarters in the Quad-Cities for the past 20 years as a team lead and also as Global SAP senior analyst. He’s married with a daughter at Iowa State, a son freshman in college, and another daughter in 8th grade middle school.


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Sarah Anderson (formerly Maynard), Coach

Sarah is in her fifth year with Rockets. In addition to coaching for Rockets she has coached at the junior high level the past five years through the Iowa City Community School District. She played for Rockets throughout her high school years as well as playing for her high school team, City High, where they won State her junior year and qualified for the Iowa HS Tournament her senior year. She graduated from the University of Iowa in 2012 with a degree in Health Science and when she’s not managing the restaurant Micky’s Irish Pub in Iowa City, she enjoys travelling. She has lived out of a backpack throughout Southeast Asia for two month periods twice now! She looks forward to meeting new faces and watching her players grow and succeed both on the court and off!

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Shelley Slay, Coach

Shelley has coached junior high for 3 years, and is on her 8th year with Rockets. She played in high school, and continues to play in leagues; ditto for softball. Shelley is also an avid runner, competing in three, 1/2 marathons a year. She graduated from the University of Iowa (a long time ago) with a major in psychology and a minor in business administration. She was an accountant for a production company for 8+ years, but currently works for the Iowa City schools. She is married to Jamie and they have 2 “mini-me’s” Madison and Sidney; plus 2 great dogs, who think they are human.(Shelley thinks she’s human, too!)

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Rex, Coach

This is T-Rex’s, now referred to as “Rocket Rex” first time ever stepping foot in a gym since Mesozoic Era. The struggle of blocking and setting isn’t keeping him/her/it from learning all the ways of volleyball while coaching a great group of girls.

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Michelle Garrison, Coach

Michelle was a 4 year starter at Lakeland College, Wisconsin, and Richard Stockton University in new Jersey. Some of her accolades are: Four time 1st team All-Conference, Conference Freshman of the year at Lakeland, Numerous 1st Team All-Tournament Selections, Over 1000 career kills. She also played softball in college and holds many season and career records at Richard Stockton. She was the starting shortstop for Team USA in Germany. (Ok, they don’t have shortstops in volleyball, but she is a woman of the world!) Michelle is starting her fourth year with the Rockets and really enjoys helping the girls improve and watching them compete. She has a husband, Todd, and two daughters, Katy and Molly.

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McKindzi Shanks, Coach

MiKindzi is entering her 4th year of coaching for Rockets, and 6th year coaching club. In that time, she’s coached in several different age groups from 12s-17s; this season she’ll be head coaching 12 Black, and the assistant on 161. As a player, she played club in the Dallas area for 6 years as a setter and DS. However, she was introduced to the game and fell in love with it long before that – her mom was a coach in Texas for 30 years. While her specialized areas of coaching are setting, defense and serve receive – she believes in teaching the entire game and developing players beyond the sport of volleyball. When she’s not in the gym, she loves to travel, go hiking, watch shows on Netflix and hangout with her animals.

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Jurgen Ehler, Coach

Jurgen has been playing volleyball for 25 years. He played on the Iowa State University Men’s Club team and most recently for Team Hollywood a nationally competitive USA Men’s team. Jurgen has coached for TNT Volleyball at Tipton for the past 10 years. His teams have won the Iowa Regionals twice (2013 & 2016) and also finished 3rd (2015) and 5th (2014). He has twice qualified a team for the GJNC in Dallas and New Orleans. Jurgen assisted with Rockets 15-1. He lives in rural Tipton with his wife Mari Anne, a son Rhett (deceased), daughter Blake who competes with Rockets 16-1, and daughter Zane who entered Kindergarten this year. They raise and exhibit livestock across the Midwest. Jurgen is employed by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship as an FDA/USDA Milk Inspector.

Taylor Killpack, Coach

Taylor is in her first year coaching for Iowa Rockets and she could not be more excited to be here. She played club volleyball in the Omaha area and went to Lewis Central High School in Council Bluffs. During her college years, Taylor was a student coach for the University of Northern Iowa, played club for UNI and coached 14s and 16s for Club Iowa Juniors (CIA.) After graduation, she moved to the area and began teaching at Roosevelt Creative Corridor Business Academy in Cedar Rapids. After taking a few years off of coaching, she began coaching her school’s 8th grade team and decided it was time to get back into coaching club. During her down time Taylor enjoys reading, playing volleyball/softball/kickball in many leagues and spending time with her husband, infant and dog.

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Danica Haight, Coach

Danica is in her 6th year coaching with the Rockets. In addition for coaching for the Rockets she has coached freshman level volleyball for Iowa City West High for two years, as well as the varsity level of Track and Field for five years. She was a multiple sport athlete at Iowa City West, participating in volleyball, track and softball. She went on to do track (shot put and discus) at the University of Michigan graduating in 2011. When she is not coaching or managing the shipping department at Younkers, she enjoys playing in volleyball leagues, watching movies, and doing crafts. Danica loves to coach withe Rockets because she gets to help athletes grow as people and as volleyball players while providing them feedback, regular communication, and a great and fun experience.

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Kayla Uhlenhake, Coach

Kayla is in her first year with the Rockets, but going on almost 2 decades around volleyball. She grew up in Burlington, Wisconsin in a strong volleyball community. She played on varsity all 4 years in High School, and played for Milwaukee Sting Volleyball Club. Kayla went on to set all 4 years at Winona State University. She’s done various coaching with clubs, as well as one season as head coach for a Varsity Boys Volleyball team. Physical therapy school at St. Ambrose brought her to Iowa, and now she practices in Iowa City for Progressive Rehab.

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Taylor Freeman, Coach

Taylor was born and raised in Iowa City, Iowa. She was a multiple sport athlete at Iowa City West High participating in volleyball, basketball, softball, and track & field. She went on to participate in track & field for The University of Arizona. Since college, she has coached track & field at Iowa City City High for four years and is an insurance agent. Taylor enjoys helping people develop not only athletic skills but confidence and knowledge. On her free time, she likes to play league volleyball/softball and likes to spend time with her family. This is Taylor’s first season coaching for Rockets and she is excited to be part of the Rockets family.

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Kelsey (Diltz) Friday, Coach

This is Kelsey’s second year coaching with Iowa Rockets.  Kelsey is originally from Iowa City and graduated from Iowa City High School.  She went to The University of Iowa and graduated with a Sports Business Degree in 2014.  After graduating, she accepted a position at Oklahoma State Athletics working as a Retention Representative for the Athletic Ticket Office handling over 2000 season ticket holder accounts.  After a year and a half living in Oklahoma, she decided to move back to Iowa City where she is now teaching for the UI REACH Program, a college program for individuals with disabilities.

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Mackenzie Ribble, Coach

This is my second year coaching for Rockets and I played for Rockets for 5 years. I went to City High and am a Freshman at Iowa this year studying to become a traveling nurse. I received the ¨Don´t Quit¨ award my junior year and love to spread positivity on and off the court. In my free time, I enjoy reading and spending time with my family. I am looking forward to a great season with a great group of girls!

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Greg Allen, Coach

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Rachel Berkland, Coach

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Laci Lower, Coach

Laci is in her 2nd season with the Rockets, serving as Assistant Coach on her daughter Averie’s 11s and 12s teams.  Laci has been playing volleyball for over 25 years including her time as a 4 year starter at Coe College.  While at Coe, she also played 4 years of basketball and was named Coe’s Female Outstanding Athlete her senior year.  Academics are incredibly important to Laci, and she was a finalist for the IIAC Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year.  Many moons ago, she was on the famous Winfield-Mt Union high school basketball team that won 80 straight games & finished with 2 state championships…and she’s also a 4×400 state champion, too!  Laci has also coached Averie and Cohen (8) in basketball and softball/baseball, and you’ll find her husband Nathan cheering from the stands.  Laci is the founder of Interlace, a consulting company where she specializes in new product development and product marketing.  When not in the gym, you find Laci out in the community as she serves on multiple non-profit boards and is the community chair for North Liberty’s Beat the Bitter.

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Bri Eberhardt, Coach

Brianna was born and raised in Mediapolis, Iowa.  She joined the Rockets club in 2013 and played until she graduated high school in 2017.  Brianna then went on to play volleyball at Kirkwood College, thanks to the help of Greg Allen and Rocket’s recruiting coordinator, Lauren Hansen.  Brianna currently resides in Iowa City and is attending school to become an accountant.  This is her first year coaching and she is very excited to give back to the program that gave her so much.

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Paul Eikenberry, Coach

Paul is starting his first year with Iowa Rockets as an assistant coach & has been around volleyball ever since he was born.  His mother played Division I volleyball at the University of Notre Dame, and his sister is currently playing at Cornell College in Mount Vernon. Paul played volleyball competitively with AAU club teams until eighth grade, since boys cannot play volleyball at the high school level in Iowa.  After eighth grade, he transitioned to the managing side of the game.  Paul took the stats and helped with practices for his high school’s volleyball team, which qualified for the state tournament in 2018 and ended the season ranked #6 in class 2A.  Paul has now recently found himself gravitating towards the officiating side of the sport as well, receiving his IGHSAU officiating certification and is a collegiately certified line judge as of this August.  He is currently a freshman at the University of Iowa studying business, and can’t wait to start his first season with the Rockets family!

 

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Allie Hutcheson, Coach

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Jason Loughran, Coach

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Aide Morales, Coach

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