Graceland Mourns the Loss of Longtime Graceland Men's Volleyball Coach Rod Schall

photo of Rod Schall holding a volleyball on top of photo of Closson Center gym

It is with sadness that we share that Rod Schall, a 1950 alumnus and  longtime men’s volleyball coach at Graceland has passed away at the age of 90.

Schall began as the sponsor for Graceland’s men’s volleyball when it was just a club sport in 1967. When the program was granted varsity status in 1969, Schall became the coach, and he remained in this role until his retirement in 1993.

His success during his tenure was legendary. He guided the program to a record of 895-412, three NAIA National Championships (1973, 1976 and 1979) and three NAIA National runner-up finishes, and he was named NAIA Coach of the Year in 1976 and 1979.

When the NAIA dropped men’s volleyball as a championship sport following the 1979 season, Schall took his team to numerous top-5 finishes at the NIRSA Collegiate Club Championships, which began in 1986. Following his retirement, he continued to serve as an assistant coach for the Yellowjackets, helping the team to its first-ever NIRSA National Championship in 1998. 

Schall’s contribution to the sport of volleyball extends well beyond his successful run as Graceland’s head men’s coach. He was considered a leading figure in the development of computerized volleyball statistics. In 1976, he published an article in Volleyball Review magazine detailing his work in the field, which received attention from Doug Beal, who was the head coach of the USA Men’s National Team at the time.

Schall then served as the first statistician in volleyball history to generate live computerized statistics in a match between the United States and Mexico in Moscow, Russia. He later served as the United States Men’s National Team Statistician in numerous competitions, including the Goodwill Games, 1983 Pre-Olympic Tournament, Pan American Games and various tours in various parts of the world.

Because of his success as Graceland’s men’s coach and the development of one of the most comprehensive statistical programs at the time, Schall has been honored in many ways. He is a member of the NAIA Hall of Fame (1995), the Graceland University Hall of Fame (1992), the recipient of the USA Volleyball George Fisher Leader in Volleyball (1977), and the Medallion of Merit honoree (2019) also given by USA Volleyball.

Graceland sends its deepest sympathies to Rod’s family, including his wife, Deanna, and his two sons, Ryan and Trevin.