CEDAR FALLS – Kalani Mahi has been among the sources of continuity within a University of Northern Iowa volleyball coaching staff that continues to produce NCAA Tournament caliber teams on an annual basis.
The longtime assistant coach announced Wednesday that he will be resigning following a 15-year tenure in Cedar Falls. Mahi has been a member of head coach Bobbi Petersen’s staff, joining assistant Kim Davis and director of volleyball operations Michelle Bolte within a leadership group that has remained intact throughout those 15 seasons.
“I’ve been very spoiled,” Petersen said about the stability on her staff. “That is very unusual to have that and we have been pretty lucky. I can’t thank Kalani enough for his years of service and commitment to the UNI volleyball program. He has been a part of many special seasons and moments and has impacted many lives through his love of the game, his ability to train and his dedication to recruiting.
“Trust in coaching is huge, and he is somebody I have been able to trust completely over the years.”
Instructing UNI’s setters over the past 15 seasons, Mahi has helped the Panthers accumulate a 374-131 record with 11 NCAA Tournament appearances and six Missouri Valley Conference regular season and tournament championships.
“He just provided a real solid perspective in what we were doing,” Petersen said. “He had a wealth of knowledge in so many areas, and was able to think outside of the box, think on the fly and make decisions on the fly which is really important in coaching, especially in the heat of the battle.”
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Mahi assisted in the development of 57 all-conference team members and 12 American Volleyball Coaches Association All-Americans, including three-time MVC Player of the Year setter Bre Payton.
“It is with mixed emotions that I am announcing my resignation as the assistant volleyball coach here at UNI,” said Mahi. “I am stepping down to spend more time with family and pursue some other opportunities.
“Bobbi, Kim, and Michelle have made it a joy to come to work each day. I consider all of them close friends, as well as my extended family. I’d also like to thank all of the student-athletes who have made my job very enjoyable each and every day. ... Lastly, I’d like to thank our incredible fans and the Panther Nation for making this the best place to play in the country. I will miss all of you, and look forward to supporting Bobbi and the Panther volleyball team from the sidelines.”
Prior to joining Petersen’s staff, Mahi served as the head coach at Oklahoma for three seasons. He previously worked as a head and assistant coach at Bradley, and an assistant coach at Illinois State.
“I just appreciated his Hawaiian attitude,” Petersen finished. “Nothing was going to fluster him. He was a good balance for me.”