‘It’s just so cool to start something like this here:’ UNK student finds new passion through club volleyball

Dillon McKinney (1) poses with his UNK Men's Club Volleyball teammates.

Dillon McKinney grew up playing every sport you would expect from a boy in the Midwest.

Baseball was his sport of choice from kindergarten through eighth grade. The Grand Island native eventually replaced that with football, wrestling, and track and field once he entered high school.

It took until Dillon’s sophomore year at the University of Nebraska at Kearney to find a sport with which he could truly connect.

“There was a men’s club volleyball team that started earlier in my sophomore year that some of my friends were playing on,” he said. “I had already played volleyball through intramurals and thought it was really fun, so I thought this would be a great opportunity to play on a team and be a little more competitive with it.”

The sport wasn’t completely alien to Dillon. His sister grew up playing volleyball, but he said he never anticipated it would be a sport he would pick up later in life. Fast forward to today: Dillon is vice president of UNK Men’s Club Volleyball.

Dillon said he has always been a competitive person. Club sports like men’s volleyball give him the perfect outlet to compete at a higher level.

“I’m definitely a competitive person, so club sports are an awesome way to take things a little further than intramurals without competing at a true collegiate level,” he said. “Club sports are just a nice way to still be able to get my competitiveness out and have fun.”   

The club has continued to grow since its creation in 2022, more than doubling in size over the last year.

“There are a lot of people kind of like me who have always been interested in volleyball, but just haven’t had the opportunity to actually play and compete,” he said. “Our practices have definitely grown this year and we’ve gotten a lot of new people.”

Dillon McKinney competes in a UNK Men’s Club Volleyball match.

Dillon said the chance to help build the club and expose more students to men’s volleyball is an exciting opportunity. He can’t wait to see it continue to grow.

“It’s just so cool to start something like this here at UNK and build a foundation for a lot of the incoming freshmen,” he said. “Hopefully men’s volleyball can continue to grow and become more popular here.”

Volleyball has played an important part in Dillon’s life since he first picked up the sport. He said the lessons it has taught him go far beyond the court.

“Through volleyball, I’ve had the opportunity to set goals for myself and accomplish them,” he said. “Now that men’s volleyball is here, it’s something that I hope we can continue to develop and bring more people into.

You can support student organizations like the Men’s Club Volleyball team during  One Day for UNK on Oct. 5-6. This 24-hour giving day provides anybody from longtime supporters to recent graduates with an opportunity to positively impact the University of Nebraska at Kearney and its students.

During One Day for UNK, you will have the chance to make an impactful gift that benefits a variety of different areas on campus, including:

  • UNK’s three colleges 
  • Scholarships
  • Loper Athletics
  • Student organizations
  • Vital programs

Visit givingday.unk.edu today to make your gift and help us make this year’s One Day for UNK our biggest, most impactful year yet. 

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