Park plans pair of events to honor national champion volleyball team

Park University planned two upcoming events to celebrate the volleyball team’s 2014 NAIA national championship, secured last month.

On Thursday, Jan. 29, the school plans to unveil a championship banner inside Breckon Sports Center at halftime of the men’s basketball game against Freed-Hardeman University at 7:30 p.m. The Pirates’ volleyball team will be honored on court.

Park swept defending national champion Texas at Brownsville in the Dec. 6 national championship match held at Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa. The Pirates finished the season 40-0 and were the only unbeaten team at any level of collegiate volleyball this past season.

“The decision to wait until January 29 and to honor the team at a men’s basketball game was two-fold,” said Park athletics director Claude English. “First, we want our students to be back in Parkville and in school, and this was the first home basketball game after the first day of classes. Second, we wanted to honor the team at a basketball game so that our national coach of the year, Mike Talamantes, could fully celebrate with his team and not have to worry about getting back in to the flow of a men’s volleyball game.

“This will be a very special night for the entire Park University community.”

Six days later, the school will be honored again on Tuesday, Feb. 3 during the scheduled Parkville Board of Aldermen meeting.

“We were pleased and honored to learn about the city’s interest in honoring our women’s volleyball team for their amazing season,” said Erik Bergrud, Park associated vice president of constituent engagement. “The success of our volleyball program in 2014 has been a point of pride for the city, symbolized by the posting of Park Pirates flags in downtown Parkville this fall. We intend to bring a large Park contingency to City Hall on February 3.”

Video will be available for both ceremonies. The Jan. 29 ceremony will be broadcast live on the Pirate Sports Network during its regular basketball coverage, and a tape-delayed video of the Feb. 3 meeting will be posted at at a later date.