Dr. Tom Peterson was named as the university's first head men's volleyball coach.
Coach Peterson is one of the most decorated and well-credentialed volleyball coaches in the country, with numerous visits to the NCAA tournament, including seven men's championship appearances and two national titles as a head coach.
With more than 30 years of collegiate coaching experience, Peterson has coached at several prominent programs, including Brigham Young University, Penn State University, the University of Utah, Utah State University, the University of New Mexico, Utah Valley University, Weber State University and Salt Lake Community College. In 2004, Peterson led BYU's men's volleyball team to a national title and was named Volleyball Magazine's "Coach of the Year" — ten years after guiding Penn State to a national title in 1994.
In addition to his coaching achievements, Peterson holds a bachelor's degree in physical education, a master's degree in professional leadership and a doctorate of education in physical education administration — all from BYU. Peterson's dissertation focused on the methodology of U.S. national volleyball coaches.
Jon Baker is in his first season as associate head coach for both the women's and men's volleyball at Southern Virginia.
Baker has over 20 years of coaching experience at the club, high school, and collegiate levels. Most recently, Baker was an assistant coach at Southern Utah University. As the defensive coach for the Thunderbirds, the team finished in the top 20 in the nation in blocks among Division 1 schools.
Baker has worked at many volleyball clinics and camps across the country, and has coached numerous high school and club teams, including leading the Adidas National 18 team to the USA National Tournament. He currently holds CAP 1, USAV IMPACT, and NFHS certifications in volleyball coaching.
Jon and his wife, Debby, recently moved to Buena Vista with their son, Logan Jon Baker.
Debby Baker enters her second season as an assistant coach with the men's volleyball team. She was also named the head women's volleyball coach in February 2018.
Baker has an extensive resume of volleyball experience. From a player in 1990 at the College of Southern Idaho, and then at Utah State University in 1992, the Afton, Wyoming native has coached at the club, junior college and Division 1 levels.
After graduating from Utah State University in marketing in 1995, Baker went back to CSI as an assistant volleyball coach. In her two seasons there, CSI went 62-3 and 65-0 to win back-to-back NJCAA National Championships with a team that produces three All-Americans.
A few years later, Baker joined the coaching staff at Utah State University for one season before she was hired on as an assistant coach at the University of New Mexico. Baker spent six seasons 200 miles south, at New Mexico State University. While she was with the Aggies, they made three NCAA tournament appearances while recruiting and coaching five All-Americans and 20 All-Conference athletes. In 2003, NMSU signed a top-50 national class of recruits.
In 2008, Baker was given the head job at Southern Utah University, bringing back the women’s volleyball program that hadn’t existed in 20 years. Debby coached six seasons at SUU, making appearances in the Big Sky and Summit League tournaments.
Debby and her husband Jon came to Buena Vista in 2017 after Jon accepted the offer from head men’s volleyball coach Tom Peterson to be the program’s associate head coach. Jon and Debby have coached together for many years at the club level and at Southern Utah, and he will serve in the same position for the women’s team.
Russell Tompkins is an assistant men's volleyball coach at Southern Virginia University.
Tompkins graduated in 1979 from Utah State University, Logan, Utah with a B.A. in Political Science and Economics. While there, he was a setter on the USU men’s volleyball team.
Following graduation Tompkins served a two-year LDS mission in Santiago, Chile from 1979 to 1981.
Professionally Tompkins has worked for several international food processing and finance companies, and has held numerous management positions. As an entrepreneur, he worked with an incubator The Hatchery, to fund early stage companies. He currently manages numerous real estate investments.
In 2008 he moved his family from New Jersey to Buena Vista, Va., and lives just one block from Southern Virginia’s campus.
From 2007-12, Tompkins served as the chair of the President’s National Advisory Counci. Four of his children and two of their husbands also attended Southern Virginia University.
Tompkins lives in Buena Vista with his wife, Jeanne, and together they have 9 children and 13 grandchildren.