SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Melissa Stokes, Missouri State University’s head volleyball coach, has announced her resignation, effective Aug. 12, 2019. The announcement came following an independent investigation by Spencer Fane LLP, which concluded that NCAA violations had occurred within the volleyball program. These violations included allowing a non-qualifier to accompany the team during a foreign tour without personally paying all costs associated with the tour and allowing currently enrolled athletes to participate as campers in Stokes’ volleyball camps.
As a result of the investigation’s findings, the university is in the process of self-reporting the NCAA violations found during the inquiry.
“The university commissioned a review of our volleyball program, due to some concerns that were brought to our attention,” Missouri State Athletic Director Kyle Moats said in a statement. “As a result of the investigation, we have concluded that we need to take the program in a new direction.”
Stokes, who fully participated in the investigation, made a decision to resign.
“For the last 23 years, the Missouri State volleyball program has been my top priority,” said Stokes. “I have always wanted what is best for our student-athletes and the university. To minimize further distraction to the program and the players, I submitted my resignation earlier today.”
Stokes has served as head volleyball coach for the last 23 years, during which time the program amassed a 509-243 overall record, for a .677 winning percentage. Stokes is also the Missouri Valley Conference’s all-time winningest coach in league matches, with 299 MVC wins.
“There’s no question that the Missouri State volleyball program has been tremendously successful with coach Stokes at the helm,” Moats stated. “We appreciate her contributions and wish her the best.”
As part of a negotiated separation agreement, the university agreed to make a severance payment of $80,000. The severance payment is in lieu of any other compensation to which Stokes would have been entitled under her employment agreement. Under the contract, her employment was scheduled to continue through June 30, 2023.
Associate head coach Manolo Concepcion has been named interim head coach, effective immediately. A national search for the head coach position will be conducted at the end of the 2019 season.