Brenda Winkeler let go as head volleyball coach

By Gus Bode

Brenda Winkeler is no longer the head coach for the SIU volleyball team, following a 9-18 campaign in 2011 during which the Salukis dropped their last 12 games.

Winkeler will be reassigned to another position inside Saluki Athletics, but athletic director Mario Moccia said they haven’t decided what her role will be.

“Certainly I think Brenda put her heart and soul into the job, but we were just unable to break into the upper half of the league,” Moccia said.


Brenda Winkeler, former volleyball head coach, was reassigned Friday to an unspecified position within the SIUC Athletics Department after SIU lost the season’s last 12 games. — Sarah Gardner | Daily Egyptian

A message left on Winkeler’s voicemail was not returned Sunday.

Winkeler was hired in 2005. The team made the Missouri Valley Conference tournament twice in her tenure, but SIU never went beyond the first round.

“First and foremost, you look at our team’s record and specifically the last two years with an eighth-place finish and a 10th-place finish,” Moccia said. “We just felt that it was just time for new leadership in the volleyball program.”

Moccia said a national search will begin for Winkeler’s replacement, but assistant coach Tammi Fries and Peter Chang are not candidates. He said it would be up to the new head coach to retain them, but they will still be assistant coaches until their contracts end in January.

Winkeler’s contract was on a continuing basis while she was the head coach, but Moccia said Friday they switched her to a one-year contract with the reassignment that will expire in December 2012.

Moccia said he met with the players to discuss the reassignment, and no players intend to leave the program due to Winkeler’s departure. However, the status of Taylor Pippen and Lindsay Hutchinson, SIU’s two commits for 2012, remains unclear.


A message left with Chang’s voicemail to clarify the recruits’ status was unreturned Sunday.

“As a student-athlete, I think the news always has a tendency to catch one off-guard,” Moccia said. “We just want them to focus on the final exams that are coming up.”

Despite the struggles on the court, Winkeler’s team had a 3.35 cumulative GPA in 2010-2011, which earned the American Volleyball Coaches Association Team Academic Award for the sixth-straight season.

Juniors Alysia Mayes and Bailey Yeager were named 2011 Honorable Mention MVC Scholar-Athletes.

“(Winkeler) put all of her efforts into the program, and we‘re certainly appreciative of her efforts,” Moccia said. “This is just one of the business aspects of college athletics, that we just need to do better on the court. We need to be more competitive.”