OMAHA, Neb. – Rose Shires announced her retirement today after 29 seasons as head coach and 31 overall years with the Omaha volleyball program.
“In my time at the University of Nebraska Omaha, I have had the opportunity to watch the university grow into something truly amazing,” said Shires. “I am proud of the 31 years of experiences I have had here at UNO. The triumphs and struggles have shaped this university and athletic department into one of excellence.
“The administration, support staff and coaches have created a positive, supportive environment within the athletic department where the student-athlete experience and success is always at the forefront,” she added. “To be part of the growth and development of Omaha Athletics is something I will always hold near to my heart.”
Shires enjoyed tremendous success over nearly three decades as Omaha’s head coach. She retires as the program’s winningest coach with 510 career victories including the 1996 Division II National Championship.
This past season, Shires guided the Mavericks to a 17-12 record that saw four players earn a combined seven all-conference honors. On Sept. 23 against North Dakota State, she earned her 500th career win.
“To say how fortunate we have been to have Coach Shires in our Maverick family is an understatement,” said Vice Chancellor, Athletics Trev Alberts. “She has given 31 years of 100 percent effort into making Maverick Athletics, the volleyball program and the student-athletes into the best they could be. Rose is a pillar of our athletics program and this university.
“It is never easy when a person who has built this great program into what it has become retires,” continued Alberts. “Her tireless effort and success that spanned the Division II era and into the transition to Division I is something that cannot be measured. We wish her nothing but the best in her retirement as she is, and will always continue to be, a treasured member of our Maverick family.”
Shires put the Maverick program on the map with the school’s first volleyball national championship in 1996, followed by an NCAA Elite Eight appearance in 1997.
Shires was named the 1996 AVCA National Coach of the Year, North Central Region Coach of the Year and NCC Co-Coach of the Year. In addition, she was honored as the 1996 Omaha Sportscasters Association’s Sportswoman of the Year and the Omaha World-Herald State College Coach of the Year. Shires also earned the Lite 96 Leadership Award and was selected as one of the “Fabulous 50 Women of Nebraska” by the Daughters of Sarah Women’s Auxiliary. During the 1996 championship run, the Mavericks finished their season at 35-2. The record marks the best winning percentage (.946) and fewest losses in school history.
During her time as Omaha’s mentor, Shires coached nine players to 27 All-America awards, including five on the AVCA First Team. Forty-two of her players have combined for 71 all-conference honors in NCC, MIAA and Summit League play, and 18 have gone on to claim 34 all-region honors.
Shires’ student-athletes also have had tremendous success in the classroom. The Mavericks have earned 22 AVCA team academic awards for having a team grade-point average of 3.30 or better, including the last 19 consecutive seasons. She has coached two CoSIDA Academic All-Americans, and in 2008, her entire squad was placed on the MIAA Academic Honor Roll for having individual GPAs of at least 3.0 along with a combined mark of 3.67.
The Mavericks had their finest Division I season yet in 2015, finishing as runner-up at the Summit League Tournament in their first postseason run of the D-I era. Omaha finished 19-13 for the year, and Shires captured Summit League Coach of the Year honors.
Within the national coaching community, Shires plays an instrumental role in the promotion of volleyball. She has served on the AVCA Head Coaches Committee and the AVCA Board of Directors as a Division II representative. She also was a member of the NCAA Division II regional ranking committee and the AVCA All-America selection committee.
Shires has served as a consultant for USA Volleyball’s Omaha Volleyball Club and also has coached an 18-under boys’ team for the organization. She volunteered for the USA Special Olympics volleyball squad, and she and her teams have conducted clinics for Special Olympics coaches and players.
Shires has been a featured guest speaker at several area high schools, covering the subject of women in non-traditional roles, and was a featured presenter at the 1995 and 1997 Nebraska High School Coaches Convention as well as the 1997 AVCA National Convention.
Along with her coaching responsibilities at UNO, Shires previously served as the Interim Senior Woman Administrator and Associate Athletic Director from 2006-08. She also coordinated the UNO Diet Pepsi Women’s Walk, which was the primary fundraiser for Maverick women’s athletics, and was an instructor in the UNO School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation for 26 years.
A native of El Paso, Texas, Shires was a five-year member of the UTEP volleyball team and served as team captain for three years while being named team MVP twice. She graduated from UTEP in 1985 with a bachelor’s degree in education and earned her master’s degree in exercise science from UNO in 1989.
“The most important aspect of the Omaha Volleyball program has been the student-athletes, and I have truly been blessed to have coached hundreds of young women who are outstanding people of character,” said Shires. “The Omaha volleyball student-athletes have enriched my life in every way. My life, and my career are successful not so much because of the wins and championships but because of the young women I have had the opportunity to coach.
“These students-athletes have challenged me, supported me and believed in me. I will forever be proud of each and every one of them. The time I have been able to spend in their lives has made my life great. I will miss them immensely.”