Written and Media by Allyson Mitchell.
Greenville College women’s volleyball coach, Tom Ackerman, begins his 21st season this coming fall. He was an assistant coach for five years and head coach for the past 16 years. Ackerman changed the dynamic and culture of Greenville volleyball in an amazing way.
Ackerman moved to Greenville, Ill. in 1985 when his mother took on the role as athletic secretary. He spent most of his childhood years running around HJ Long gym. He attended his first volleyball match that year and has not missed a game since.
Ackerman was recognized on Sept. 28, 2013 for his 200th career win. He led the women to three appearances in the NCAA tournament and won the SLIAC conference the past seven years in a row. Ackerman was presented coach of the year five times (the most recent being the 2015 season).
Amongst all of his success, he decided to start a men’s volleyball program. In 2016, Ackerman officially started a men’s volleyball program on campus. They finished their first season 13-11. His love and knowledge of the game has brought many people to Greenville College.
Ackerman presents his program as the big three: God, academics, and winning. He is passionate about his athletes growing in their relationship with Christ and succeeding in the classroom. He believes that if the first two are well sought-out, winning comes easily. Ackerman is so persistent about his athlete’s success in the classroom because wants to prepare them for the world outside of the gym.
A game I will never forget is the conference championship in 2009. We lost to Webster University twice in the regular season and our girls fought hard in the final, losing 13-15 in the fifth set. That game was the turning point for our program.” – Coach Ackerman
Listen below to hear why that game was the turning point for the women’s volleyball program along with other games that were Ackerman’s favorite to coach.