Coach Profile of the Week: Chris Herron

The volleyball team is having a record season this year, going 19-0 since the year began. They have had two big upset wins over Nebraska Kearney and Central Missouri. In his 17thyear as the head volleyball coach, Chris Herron helps to lead this team to its best season yet. 

Herron lives here in Topeka and has two sons and a daughter. His daughter’s name is Libby, and his son’s names are Thatcher Cole and Jordan.

His main hobby is attending sporting events. Out of all the sporting events that he has been to, his favorite has always been seeing the Kansas Jayhawks play basketball at the Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence. 

“I try to go to different places around the United States, and different venues. My favorite sporting event, and I have been to a lot of sporting events, when you go to a basketball game at KU, it’s something special. Just the atmosphere is unbelievable,” said Herron.

Herron’s journey to becoming the Washburn Volleyball coach started in an unlikely place. Growing up, Herron did not have a father. Instead of a father, Herron used his coaches as father figures and as role models. Using his coaches, Herron decided that he wanted to become a Physical Education teacher and a coach at a high school. 

“When I was young, I didn’t have a dad. So, my coaches were my father figures. I had a junior high P.E. teacher, he was also my basketball coach, he began to shape my life a little bit, and made me his aide one year which I thought was the coolest thing ever. From 8thgrade on, I thought I wanted to be a P.E. teacher, I wanted to do what he did. I was then lucky enough to have a high school football coach who had a big impact on my life and a college baseball coach who did the same thing,” Herron said.

Herron graduated high school from Willard High School in Willard, Missouri. Following that, he went on to the College of the Ozarks to play baseball.

Before becoming a collegiate coach, Herron spent his early years as a high school coach. Originally, he had not coached volleyball until an opportunity became available at Golden City High School, where he was coaching at the time in various other sports. They needed someone to step in to fill the position, otherwise the school would cut volleyball as a sport altogether.

“We needed a volleyball coach, and it wound up being me. I had no idea about volleyball other than that there were six players on each side. That was about it. I had an advantage coming from my high school (Willard High School). They were really good at volleyball. The high school coach at the time worked there when I went to high school, so I asked her if I could sit in on some of her practices, and she was kind enough to let me do that. I just began to learn from that point on, and then I began to play, because I was horrible. The first year I coached at Golden City, we won five matches, but the five matches were better than losing every match like the three years before. I had nowhere to go but up. The next year we went to state,” Herron said. 

Since his days as a high school coach, Herron has coached only one other collegiate team before coming to Washburn. After he left Tonganoxie High Schoo, he coached at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas. There, he led the Ravens to three successful seasons totaling a 75-29 record. 

Now as the Washburn Head Volleyball Coach, Herron has continued to be successful. He is coming up on his 500thcareer win at Washburn soon, as he has guided the Ichabods to a 488-96 record during his time here. Not only that, but he has gone to the NCAA Tournament 13 times and has won five MIAA titles. Herron believes he has been lucky to be a coach at Washburn.

“One of the things that has kept me here all this time is that I have a great athletic director. I am grateful to have this opportunity to be here. It has been great, and I definitely look forward more great seasons to follow,” Herron said excitedly.

Herron and the volleyball team look to continue their success as they take on Missouri Southern State on Friday, October 5 in Joplin, Missouri. They then head to Bolivar, Missouri to take on Southwest Baptist on Saturday, October 6.  

The volleyball team will return home the following weekend to take on both Missouri Western State on October 12, and Northwest Missouri State on October 13.