CEDAR FALLS — Northern Iowa athletics director David Harris has locked up one of the most successful volleyball coaches in the nation for another two years Monday.
Long-time head coach Bobbi Petersen signed a new deal that will keep her as the Panthers head coach through the 2024 season.
“Panther volleyball has achieved a standard of excellence in all aspects of the program that is a direct result of the efforts of head coach Bobbi Petersen,” Harris said. “From academics and community service all the way to national prominence on the floor — Panther volleyball is one of the nation’s best.
“We are extremely happy to reward Bobbi with a two-year extension and look forward to many more successful years under her leadership.”
Since taking over for Iradge Ahrabi-Fard in 2001, a former Panther great herself playing from 1986-89, Petersen has compiled a 461-141 record and her win percentage of .766 ranks 10th among active Division I coaches. She is just 42 wins away from surpassing Arahbi-Fard as the all-time wins leader in UNI history.
“I am so blessed and thankful for the privilege to lead this program that has so much history and tradition,” Petersen said. “I would like to thank David Harris, Christina Roybal and President Mark Nook for their continued support of me, my staff and our program.
“I am proud and humbled to be part of this program, this University and this wonderful supportive community. Our staff and student athletes have worked extremely hard and we are excited for the future.”
This past fall, UNI made its 21st NCAA tournament berth and reached the second round after beating Louisville in its tournament opener. The Panthers finished the season with a 27-9 record while finishing No. 1 in for NCAA statistical categories — kills per set (15.24), team assists (1,857), team digs (2,581) and team kills (1,997).
UNI also knocked off four-ranked opponents, including eventual national champion Nebraska.
Academically, Petersen’s teams have excelled as well.
For the past 12 years, the NCAA has recognized teams in the top-10 percent of the Academic Progress Report and the UNI volleyball team has been on that list all 12 years. UNI has also been awarded the American Volleyball Coaches Association’s Team Academic Award in each of the last six seasons and this past fall the team compiled a 3.40 grade point average.
The Panthers return all but one starter, setter Heather Hook, for the 2018 season where they figured to be big favorites to win the Missouri Valley Conference title.