Rose Obunaga (pronounced Oh-boo-na-ga) begins her fifth season as head coach at Stephens College and continues to build the volleyball program into a contender at the conference level.
Obunaga guided the Stars to their best record of her tenure during the 2014 campaign when they finished 13-17. The 13 wins marked the most in a single season since 2010. In American Midwest Conference play, the Stars were a program-best 5-7 and qualified for the AMC Tournament before falling to eventual AMC and NAIA champion Park University. For the first time in program history, the Stars landed more than one player on the AMC All-Conference team with Kerri Kircher and Samantha Phegley both earning honorable mention.
In her second season at the helm, Stephens was 6-24 overall with one victory in league play against Harris-Stowe State. Other wins included a non-conference battle with HSSU, Southwestern (Kan.) in the first match of the season, along with Calvary Bible College, Avila and Midway.
In 2012, Obunaga guided the volleyball Stars to a 9-22 overall record, picking up four conference victories (4-14, American Midwest) and an upset win over Central Methodist (Mo.). Two individuals ranked in the top 50 nationally at the end of Obunaga’s first season as head coach, including Kelsie Byrd in blocks per set (23rd) and Lanie Hurt in assists per set (44th).
Obunaga looks to parlay a dominant playing career into an equally impressive coaching resume. The two-time Olympian hit the international circuit as a member of Kenya’s National Volleyball team in 2000 at the Sydney Summer Olympics. In the midst of her college career, Obunaga joined Kenya once again for the Athens 2004 Summer Olympics.
At the collegiate level, Obunaga left quite the legacy at Missouri State University-West Plains. The two-time, first-team NJCAA All-American finished her two-year stint at MSU-West Plains ranked second all-time in total blocks (463), solo blocks (178), kills (1,302), attacking percentage (.444) and points earned (1,844). In 2009, Obunaga was inducted into the MSU-West Plains Athletics Hall of Fame.
The Kakamega, Kenya native is no stranger to NAIA. Following her junior college playing career, Obunaga attended Central Methodist (Mo.) where she earned first-team NAIA All-American honors. In 2005, she transferred to Columbia College and helped the Cougars to a 35-4 overall record and runner-up finish at the NAIA National Tournament. Leading the team in kills, kills/set, blocks, solo blocks and blocks/set, Obunaga added to her long list of accolades with first-team NAIA All-American and All-Tournament honors.
At Columbia, Obunaga served as a student assistant volleyball coach while completing her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration (2006). In 2011, Obunaga completed a master’s degree in Public Service Administration from the University of Evansville, where she served as a graduate assistant coach.
Other coaching opportunities for Obunaga have included a volunteer position at Washington University in St. Louis and a head coaching position with H2 St. Louis Volleyball Club U17s.
Obunaga resides in Columbia, Mo., and has one daughter, Yonne Nasimiyu. Yonne is a junior for the volleyball Stars this season.
|1||Yonne Nasimiyu||SR||OH||5-8||Nairobi, Kenya||Rock Bridge High School|
|2||Taylor Edwards||SR||DS||5-6||St. Peters, Mo.||Fort Zumwalt East High School|
|3||Darby Jones||JR||OH||5-6||Kansas City, Mo.||Staley High School|
|6||Alexus Dieckmann||SO||OH||5-8||Cole Camp, Mo.||Cole Camp High School|
|8||Danielle Craven||JR||S||5-4||Kansas City, Mo.||Winnetonka High School|
|9||Danielle Kirk||SO||OH||5-9||Camarillo, Calif.||Newbury Park High School|
|10||Kerri Kircher||SR||MH||6-0||Richmond, Ind.||Northeastern High School|
|11||Halan Mann||JR||MH||5-9||Blue Springs, Mo.||Blue Springs South High School|
|13||Shay Wilkerson||JR||MH||5-10||Lima, Ohio||Shawnee High School|
|14||Suhey Campos||JR||L||5-2||Kansas City, Mo.||Winnetonka High School|
|16||Tylar Grant||JR||LS||5-5||Springfield, Mo.||Parkview High School|
|17||Shelby Johnson||SO||MH||5-11||Nixa, Mo.||Nixa High School|
|18||Samantha Knaust||FR||RS/MH||6-1||Wentzville, Mo.||Fort Zumwalt North High School|