Tony Sunga, an assistant at the University of Wyoming for the past three years and a 1988 Drake graduate, has been named head volleyball coach at Drake University.
“Tony Sunga joining the Drake Athletics family as the head volleyball coach is a true gift,” said Athletic Director Sandy Hatfield Clubb. “As a Drake graduate and former assistant coach at Drake, he knows best what it will take to continue the positive momentum of the program. I love his enthusiasm and passion for Drake, and I look forward to the continued growth of the volleyball team under his direction.”
Sunga was responsible for recruiting, defensive scouting and match preparation for the Cowgirl program. Since his appointment in 2008, Sunga has helped transform Wyoming into a contender in the Mountain West Conference. The Cowgirls improved from five wins during his first year to 22 wins a season ago — the most since the 1989 squad made a run to the NCAA Elite Eight.
In addition, Sunga spearheaded the recruitment of Winterset, Iowa product Jodi Purdy, who earned 2010 MWC All-Conference honors and was named the 2009 MWC Freshman of the Year.
“I’m very excited to return to my alma mater and to take the helm of the volleyball program,” Sunga said. “This opportunity is the situation I’ve been hoping for. My wife (Melissa) also is a Drake graduate, and we’re excited to bring our family to Des Moines.”
Sunga’s recruits excelled in the classroom, as well as on the court. The Cowgirls placed 10 players on the MWC Academic All-Conference team in 2009 and garnered 11 spots in 2010.
“Academics will always be high on my list,” Sunga added. “As a former student at Drake, I know that academics are a source of pride and excellence is required. We’ll recruit the student as much as the athlete.”
Prior to his arrival at Wyoming, Sunga was an assistant at Drake from 2005-07 under then-head coach Amy Farber Knowles (2005-07). As recruiting coordinator, Sunga recruited many of the players that led to the resurgence of the Drake program under Phil McDaniel (2008-10), including Angela Bys (2007-10), Alana Wittenburg (2007-10), Alisa DeBerg Roth (2007-10) and Mikayla Sims (2007-present). The Bulldogs went 23-11 a year ago and made their second-straight MVC Tournament appearance.
In addition, he served as head coach of the Iowa Power Volleyball Alliance from 2002-06 and spent three years as head coach at Des Moines Lincoln High School (2001-04). He also served as a volunteer assistant at Iowa State (2004) and served as an assistant coach at Simpson College from 1993-2000. Sunga began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Drake from 1991-92.
Sunga and his wife, Melissa Boyer-Sunga, have three sons; Michael, Phillip and Daniel.