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Brees steps down from Bobcat volleyball

For the first time since 1989, Chris Brees is no longer a volleyball coach.

Brees on Wednesday tendered his resignation as the head volleyball coach at Marshalltown High School, telling athletic director Ryan Isgrig that it was a decision he made “with a heavy heart” but one that he felt he had to make.

Brees, who is the Director of Student Engagement and Residence Life at Marshalltown Community College, said he intends to focus on that position in lieu of volleyball due to the continuing battle with the coronavirus pandemic and changes that will have to be made if students are to return to campus in the fall.

“Marshalltown Community College brought me back to Marshalltown and gave me the opportunity to work in this community,” Brees said. “As with every person and business today we have all been affected by COVID-19, and though they have given me great support coaching at MHS I know that I need to put all my commitment to the MCC campus.

“It would be irresponsible of me to think that I could give the best of me to MCC and MHS with all the new ‘normal’ in front of us today.”

Brees served as the Bobcats’ head volleyball coach for five seasons, reaching the regional final three times but losing to a highly ranked Cedar Falls squad each time. Marshalltown’s best season under his direction was the first, when MHS went 29-11.

Brees, a 1993 MHS graduate, hoped his tenure as the Bobcats’ volleyball coach would be viewed as a successful one but wouldn’t rush to his own judgment.

“Did I fail or succeed? I’m sure there will always be different perspectives of success,” he wrote. “No I never made it to the state tournament. No, I’m not sure if all the athletes liked me and I definitely know not all the parents did. What I do know is I never came here to be liked, I came here to be respected as a person, as a coach and as a mentor.

“Just as all those that came before me and gave to a program, I needed to give back. What I do know is I feel I’m failing my athletes that are still here and I do feel I’m letting you and your parents down.”

Brees began his time on the volleyball bench as a team manager for Bruce Vopava while a freshman at MHS in 1989, which is when his playing career began as well. He was on an AAU team sponsored by the Pat Apgar family, and eventually played for four years and was team captain for three of them at Clarke University in Dubuque.

Brees was either a head or assistant coach at Clarke, Southeastern Community College, William Penn University, Grand View College and Drake University prior to returning to Marshalltown as MCC’s head coach in 2012. The Tigers won 54 matches in his three seasons before he succeeded Terri Westendorf at MHS in 2015. The Bobcats were 94-83 in Brees’s five years.

“Marshalltown is my hometown, I have been and will always be an MHS Bobcat,” he said. “That is something I say with pride. The Roundhouse is my home.”

Isgrig said a search for Marshalltown High School’s next head volleyball coach would begin immediately.

“We want to thank coach Brees for his service and dedication to the Marshalltown Bobcat volleyball program,” Isgrig said. “We wish him the best in the next chapter of his career.”

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