JOPLIN, Mo. -- Missouri Southern State director of athletics Jared Bruggeman has announced that John Napier will be the new head coach. Narpier will officially begin his duties at Southern in January.

Napier comes to Southern after a season as an assistant coach at Boston College, almost a decade at Northern Arizona and six years at his alma mater, Akron.

"I'd like to thank athletic director Jared Bruggeman, assistant athletic director Rachel Burleson, the volleyball players, the entire search committee and all those who have given me this terrific opportunity," Napier said. "I feel all the pieces are in place to win here. The team has been good in the past and I will work hard to get back on track. I believe we can build a program here that will be fun to watch as well as represent the school and community in a positive light. I'm looking forward to being part of the Lion's staff and I'm excited to get started."

Throughout his time at Akron, he also served for three years as the co-director and coach of the Akron Canton Elite Junior Olympic volleyball club, where he was the head coach of the 17s team. Other head coaching experience includes three years as the women's All Air Force indoor and beach coach and one year as the men's indoor and beach coach.

Napier has been active in the sport of volleyball for nearly 30 years. Some highlights of his playing career include two years on the Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP) beach tour where he still holds the distinction of being one of two male players from Ohio to place in the top 20 of any AVP beach tournament.

Napier also had an extensive indoor playing career for the Air Force and All-Armed Forces teams. His eight-year playing career for the Air Force team includes several appearances on the All-Star team as well as six gold medals at the Armed Forces Championships.

In 2002, Napier graduated from Akron with a Master's degree in education with an emphasis in sports science/coaching. His bachelor's degree in business organizational communication also is from Akron.

An Akron, Ohio native, he has served 22.5 years in the Air Force and Air Force Reserves and just recently retired in the rank of major. Napier earned a degree in business organizational communication from Akron in 1995 and his masters from Akron in 2002.

"I'm excited to bring John on to lead our volleyball team," Bruggeman said. "He quickly rose to the top of a highly competitive applicant pool and I think he will be a great addition to our staff. His personality will work well with our team and I look forward to seeing him and the team in action."