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Melissa Stokes is out at MSU after more than two decades.
Photo provided by Missouri State University
Melissa Stokes is out at MSU after more than two decades.

Longtime MSU volleyball coach steps down

Posted online

Following an investigation by Spencer Fane LLP into potential NCAA violations, Missouri State University’s head volleyball coach submitted her resignation.

Melissa Stokes, who’s led the team for 23 years, was placed on paid administrative leave a month ago. According to a news release, she voluntarily resigned, effective Aug. 12, after Spencer Fane’s probe found violations had occurred. Those violations include allowing a nonqualifier — someone who has not graduated from high school or who has not met testing requirements — to travel with the team during a foreign tour without that player personally paying all of her costs. Additionally, currently enrolled student-athletes were allowed to participate in Stokes’ volleyball camps, which is against NCAA rules.

MSU spokeswoman Andrea Mostyn said the university has not yet received a bill from Spencer Fane. The university also entered a negotiation separation agreement with Stokes, through which it will pay her severance of $80,000 in lieu of any other compensation this year. Her salary was $112,157.

"As a result of the investigation, we have concluded that we need to take the program in a new direction,” MSU Athletic Director Kyle Moats said in the release. "There's no question that the Missouri State volleyball program has been tremendously successful with coach Stokes at the helm. We appreciate her contributions and wish her the best."

Stokes, who was scheduled to enter her 24th season as head coach this year, said she submitted her resignation in order to “minimize further distraction to the program and the players.”

During her 23-year career with the team, she posted a 509-243 overall record. She’s also the all-time winningest coach via Missouri Valley Conference league matches, with 299 wins, according to the release.

Manolo Concepción, associate head coach of women’s volleyball, has been named interim head coach. A national search for a new head coach is scheduled to be conducted after the 2019 season, which starts Aug. 30, is finished.

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