Scott Kneifl moves into his 12th season as head volleyball coach at Wayne State College entering the 2016 campaign. He has led the Wildcat program to unprecedented success resulting in 10 NCAA Division II Tournament appearances, one region title, one national semifinal appearance and one NSIC Tournament title.
During his 11 years at Wayne State College, Kneifl has accumulated career records of 279-95 overall (.746) and 157-53 (.748) in the Northern Sun Conference.
The Wildcats made school history in the 2015 season by winning the NCAA Central Region title for the first time and advancing to the Elite Eight. WSC finished with records of 28-8 overall and third place in the NSIC with a 16-4 league mark. It was the 10th time in the past 11 seasons that Wayne State College advanced to the NCAA Division II National Tournament.
At the NCAA Central Regional, Kneifl coached the Wildcats to wins over three of the top 10 teams in the country (#8 Central Missouri, #4 Southwest Minnesota State and #1 Concordia-St. Paul) to capture the schools’ first-ever NCAA regional championship.
WSC then defeated Carson-Newman (Tenn.) 3-1 in the national quarterfinals in Tampa, Florida before falling to Palm Beach Atlantic 3-0 in the national semi-finals to close out the memorable 2015 campaign.
The Wildcats ended the year ranked third in the AVCA Division II Top 25 Coaches Poll – the highest-ever national ranking to end the season. It was the eighth straight year that WSC ended year ranked in the Top 25 and the Wildcat volleyball program also has a streak of 88 consecutive national rankings dating back to September 28, 2009.
Wayne State also continued their stellar success in the classroom during the 2015 season, earned the AVCA Team Academic Award for a 10th straight year with an astounding 3.78 grade point average.
Another area where the Wildcats continued to shine in the 2015 season was home attendance as Wayne State ranked ninth in NCAA Division II with an average attendance of 657 fans per home match, marking the seventh straight year Wayne State ranked in the top 10 nationally.
Kneifl coached the Wildcats to a 27-7 record in the 2014 season, finishing third in the NSIC with a 16-4 league mark. WSC advanced to the NSIC Tournament title match and reached the NCAA Division II National Tournament defeating Central Missouri in the first round before falling to top-seed Minnesota Duluth to end the season.
The Wildcats finished the 2014 season ranked sixth in the final AVCA Division II Top 25 Coaches Poll.
Under Kneifl in 2013, the Wildcats posted a 22-10 overall record and a 12-8 mark in the NSIC. Wayne State finished the year ranked 21st in the final AVCA Division II Top 25 Coaches Poll. It marked the fifth straight year in seven of the last nine that the Wildcat program has ended the season ranked in the top 25.
Kneifl coached the Wildcats to a 22-10 overall record in the 2012 season, placing fourth in the NSIC with a 14-6 league mark. WSC ended the season in the NCAA Tournament for an eighth straight year and was ranked 18th in the final AVCA Division II Top 25 Coaches' Poll. It was the fifth straight season and sixth of the last seven that the Wildcats ended the year ranked in the top 25. Wayne State's signature win in the 2012 season came against #1 Nebraska-Kearney where the Wildcats defeated the Lopers 3-1 before a crowd of 1,411, the second-largest crowd to ever watch a WSC volleyball match.
In 2011 Kneifl led Wayne State to a 23-8 record, 16-4 in the Northern Sun Conference (4th place). WSC was ranked in the AVCA Division II Top 25 Coaches' Poll the entire season, ranked as high as ninth and never below 13th before finishing the season ranked 10th in the nation.
Kneifl coached the Wildcats to a 26-4 record in 2010, going 17-3 in the NSIC to finish in third place. The Wildcats set a new school record with 16 straight wins to open the season and earned the school's first ever #1 national ranking twice during the season. WSC beat #1 Minnesota Duluth 3-1 in Wayne on October 1, 2010 and three days later was voted the top team in the country, marking the first time a Wayne State team received a #1 national ranking.
WSC finished the 2010 season with its then-highest ever national ranking to end the year, ninth in the AVCA Division II Top 25 Coaches Poll. The Wildcats also had another banner year with home attendance drawing an all-time high 8,329 fans to Rice Auditorium for an average of 757 fans per home match ranking fifth in NCAA Division II.
In 2009, the Wildcats were 29-8 overall going 16-4 in the NSIC for a second place finish that resulted in Coach Kneifl being named the 2009 NSIC Coach of the Year. The Wildcats won 15 consecutive matches from August 29th through September 25th. WSC advanced to the NCAA Tournament and defeated Minnesota State in the first round of the Central Regional before falling to eventual national champion Concordia-St. Paul in the regional semi-finals.
WSC finished the 2009 season ranked 18th in the AVCA Division II Top 25 Coaches Poll. Wildcat junior middle hitter Jennifer Hefner became Wayne State's first ever Academic All-American while also earning Second Team AVCA All-American honors on the court.
In 2008, the Wildcats posted a 23-10 overall record to qualify for the NCAA Division II Central Regional Tournament. WSC finished the 2008 season with a 12-8 mark in the Northern Sun Conference, finishing sixth in league play. The Wildcats ended the season ranked 25th in the final Bison / AVCA Division II Top 25 Coaches Poll.
Kneifl coached Wayne State to a 24-12 record in 2007 and a third place finish in the Northern Sun Conference with a 13-5 league mark. The Wildcats peaked at the end of the season and captured the school's first-ever Northern Sun Conference Volleyball Tournament title as the Wildcats defeated MSU Moorhead 3-1 in the title match. WSC then advanced to the NCAA Division II North Central Regional Tournament where the Wildcats suffered a hard fought 3-1 loss to eventual national champion Concordia-St. Paul in the first round.
The Wildcats recorded a stellar 30-8 mark in 2006, advancing to the NCAA Division II North Central Regional Tournament and reaching the semi-finals for the first time in school history. Kneifl also coached the schools’ first-ever All-American as junior middle hitter Emily Schroeder received Second Team All-American honors from AVCA and Daktronics. WSC also made a mark on the national scene, finishing the season ranked 20th in NCAA Division II while ranking eighth in home attendance, averaging over 520 fans per home match.
In his first season as head coach in 2005, Kneifl directed the Wildcats to a 25-10 overall record and the teams’ first-ever berth in the NCAA Division II North Central Regional Volleyball Tournament. WSC finished tied for second in the Northern Sun Conference with a 10-4 league mark and for his efforts, Kneifl was awarded the NSIC Co-Coach of the Year Award.
Kneifl has coached at both the high school and college level and brings 12 years of experience to the Wildcat program. He served as assistant coach with the Wildcat volleyball program for two seasons before moving up to the head coaching position in 2005. The Wildcats made a 10-game improvement from 2003 to 2004 under the assistance of Kneifl, going from 10-24 in 2003 to 20-14 in 2004.
He got his start as the head girls volleyball coach at Allen High School in 1995. Kneifl's 1996 team finished district runner-up. After three years at Allen High School, Kneifl chose to make the jump to the collegiate level and became the assistant women's volleyball coach at Doane College in Crete, Nebraska. While at Doane, the Tigers made it to the NAIA national tournament.
In 1998, Coach Kneifl was named head girls volleyball coach at Millard South High School. In just his second year at the helm, Kneifl took MSHS to the district finals where they finished runner-up.
A native of Newcastle, Nebraska, Kneifl has also worked with many club volleyball programs including: Logan Valley, Tri-State, and Nebraska Juniors. In 1997, his Tri-State team won the regional tournament and earned a berth to the national club volleyball tournament.
Scott earned his bachelor’s degree from Wayne State in 1995 and achieved his master’s degree in 2004 in sport management, also from Wayne State College. He and his wife Jennifer have three sons, Jacob, (13) Brooks, (11), and Jaxson (8) and they reside in Wayne.