CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — Parkland volleyball head coach Cliff Hastings doesn’t like to lose, and the numbers back that up.
“I’m a competitive person, I like to win,” says Hastings. “When early on we weren’t winning all the time, it got annoying and I just wanted to beat people so much and be successful.”
And he’s had plenty of that in the last 12 years as the Parkland head coach, earning his 600th career win over the weekend.
“I think after the first couple of years of having some level of success and then figuring out the recruiting piece, they got better and better as time went on,” says Hastings. “But there was never any expectation and it’s all been an exciting and fun ride.”
Now the Hall of Fame coach has one of the all-time best winning percentages in the NJCAA. He’s only lost 56 times in his career, and hasn’t lost more than three matches in a season since 2012.
“Cliff is the whole reason why Parkland Volleyball is the way of it is,” says sophomore Isabella Classen. “He is probably the best coach I’ve ever had. I enjoy his presence, he brings family to the team, he’s created this culture that’s honestly like none other.”
That’s helped the Cobras reach the National Tournament 14 times. It’s the most appearances of any Division II school, with 12 of those under Hastings.
“I think we can definitely win it all again,” says Hastings. “We don’t start a season not playing to win nationals, and that is the plan again this year.”
Hastings has led the Cobras to the national title game seven times, finishing runner-up in Cedar Rapids last year. They’ll try to get back there again in November, to make their fourth-straight appearance.