University of Missouri

Why did Wayne and Susan Kreklow retire as Mizzou’s volleyball coaches? They explain

Missouri’s volleyball program officially saw a changing of the guard on Friday, as head coach Wayne Kreklow and his wife and assistant coach, Susan, formally met with reporters to discuss their retirement and introduce interim coach Josh Taylor.

The couple ran MU’s program for 19 years, which included 15 NCAA Tournaments and two Southeastern Conference championships. They admitted that retirement had been on their mind for some time now, and became more of a conversation in the past 18 months. Wayne Kreklow said in the last year and a half he’s had a hip replacement, double hernia surgery and a knee replacement, which happened four weeks ago.

Missouri returns its entire core from a team that went to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, and the Kreklows said they’d never walk away from the program if they felt a struggle or rebuilding season was upon them.

“It’s a perfect opportunity for these guys to take it and run with it,” Wayne Kreklow said.

Both Kreklows got emotional when discussing how they broke the news to the team and said their first priority when discussing their retirement was to make sure the current players would be taken care of. Once they thought that was addressed, they were ready.

While the timing of the decision came as a surprise, Wayne Kreklow said it had been in the works for a while and that athletic director Jim Sterk was aware of the couple’s mindset.

“It’s been the best 19 plus years that we’ve ever had,” Wayne Kreklow said.

As the Krelows head into retirement, another husband-wife duo takes over in their place: Taylor and his wife, Molly Kreklow-Taylor, a former MU All-American and a niece of Susan and Wayne.

Taylor, when introduced to the media, said he’s not much of a talker and added he found out “very recently” that he was going to be MU’s interim coach for the 2019 season.

“I’m still kind of processing it as well,” he said.

Taylor expressed gratitude to the Kreklows as well as inspiration, for giving him and his wife a model to follow for the situation they’re taking over. The former MU assistant coach said that the Kreklows gave everything they had to the program and slowly gave him more responsibilities while serving as an assistant coach.

“I don’t think there was a moment where they gave half of themselves to anything,” Taylor said.

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Alex Schiffer has been covering the Missouri Tigers for The Star since October 2017. He came in second place for magazine-length feature writing by the U.S. Basketball Writer’s Association in 2018 and graduated from Mizzou in 2017.
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