Volleyball Coaching Staff


Mary Whitehead

Mary Whitehead

Head Coach

(417) 865-2815 ext. 7191
Email Coach Whitehead

Mary Whitehead will go into her 15th season as head coach of the Evangel volleyball team in 2014. Last year she surpassed 300 wins in her head coaching career and owns a record of 318-181 (.637), all with Evangel. She is 85-52 in her career within the Heart of America Athletic Conference.

Whitehead has led Evangel volleyball to be one of the most respected programs nationally in the NAIA and a perennial contender in the Heart of America conference. The Crusaders have gone 127-47 (.730) in the last five years and 38-9 (.809) in the conference over the same span.

She was the HAAC Coach of the Year in 2009 as Evangel won their first conference tournament championship in program history and advanced to their first NAIA National Tournament that season. The Crusaders followed that season with a perfect 10-0 league record in 2010 and went 27-6 overall that year.

In 2009, Whitehead passed Sandra Sorbo in all-time coaching wins in the program as she picked up her 219th career victory in her 10th season as head coach. Her .637 winning percentage is also the best all-time in the program’s 46-year history. She also ranks in the top 20 among all active NAIA coaches in career wins and is in the top 25 nationally in win percentage.

Prior to Whitehead’s arrival at Evangel the most consecutive winning seasons for the team was three (1980-82). Evangel will enter 2014 with 11 straight winning seasons and they have won at least 21 games for nine straight years. 

Whitehead shared the head coaching duties with Dawn Neal in 2000 before taking over the program in 2001. She has served Evangel University as the director of the Mabee Student Fitness Center and has taught in the Evangel Kinesiology department. She was also the assistant softball coach for two years (1999-2000) at Evangel.

A 1997 graduate of MidAmerica Nazarene University, Whitehead was a two-sport athlete earning three letters in softball and volleyball. She was an all-HAAC selection twice in softball, an NCCAA All-American in softball in 1997 and was named the team MVP three times during her career. In addition, she was a NAIA Scholar-Athlete in 1996 and 1997 for softball and volleyball.

As a prep athlete, Whitehead won three volleyball and three softball letters at Burlington High School in Iowa. She lettered two years in basketball and was a four-year track letter winner. Whitehead earned all-district and all-conference honors as a volleyball and softball player at Burlington and was an all-conference basketball performer. She graduated from Burlington in 1992.

Formerly Mary Penrod, Whitehead married to husband Jake in the summer of 2008. They reside in Fair Grove with their three sons.


Mallory Lawson

Mallory Lawson

Assistant Coach

(417) 865-2815 ext. 7957
Email Coach Lawson

Mallory Lawson will enter her fifth year with Evangel volleyball serving as assistant coach. The Crusaders have gone 127-47 and 38-9 in the Heart of America conference since she joined the coaching staff.

Lawson coached club volleyball for Club Bear for four seasons in addition to serving as an assistant coach at Glendale High School and Millard South High School in Nebraska.

Originally from Norfolk, Nebraska, Lawson was a two-time all-state volleyball performer in high school and set school single season and career records for aces and hitting percentage as well as a single season mark in kills. She played collegiate volleyball at Creighton from 2004-06 and was their Defensive Player of the Year in 2006.

She finished her degree in Dietetics at Missouri State University. Lawson is also serves as the director of the Mabee Fitness Center. She competes in regional and national Crossfit competitions and is Level 1 Certified in Crossfit training. Her husband Matt is a former Missouri State baseball player who played professionally in the Mariners, Rangers and Indians organizations.


Kaley Lyons

Kaley Lyons

Graduate Assistant Coach

Kaley Lyons will enter her second year on the Evangel coaching staff after serving as a student assistant coach last year. Lyons had a stellar career as a player for the Crusaders and was the program’s first four-time NAIA All-American in addition to being a four-time All-HAAC performer. She was the league’s Player of the Year in 2010 and 2011 and was the Freshman & Newcomer of the Year in 2009. Lyons owns Evangel’s all-time kills record and kills per set record.

A product of Glendale H.S. in Springfield, Lyons helped her team to a Class 4 state final four appearance and was an All-State selection in volleyball and a Class 5 All-State selection in basketball. Lyons was named the News-Leader Female Athlete of the Year following her senior season in 2008-09.

Lyons graduated in 2014 with a degree in Recreation with a minor in Sports Administration and Physical Education. She is working towards a Master’s degree in Education.