Ogallala Native & Husker Volleyball Leader Mendenhall to Lead Omaha Team; Team to Play at CHI Health Center in 2024
Omaha, Neb. – In cooperation with the Pro Volleyball Federation (PVF), Nebraska Pro Volleyball is bringing a women’s professional team to Omaha. Today, the Omaha-based team named renowned veteran volleyball leader, Diane Mendenhall, of Lincoln, as President of Nebraska Pro Volleyball. In her first official act as President, the Ogallala, Nebraska native announced the Omaha Team will be playing their home games at the CHI Health Center in downtown Omaha.
“It is a true honor to serve as the first President of Nebraska Pro Volleyball as we bring professional volleyball to Omaha,” said Mendenhall. “For those of us in the volleyball world, Nebraska is known as the ‘Epicenter of Volleyball’ in the United States and soon to be world. Our community is in for a once-in-a-lifetime treat when these world-class athletes take the court at CHI Center playing for Team Omaha in early 2024. From Omaha to Lincoln to Kearney to Wayne to Scottsbluff/Gering… We are volleyball.”
On playing at the CHI Health Center in Omaha, Nebraska Pro Volleyball Co-Founder, Chris Erickson, stated, “Volleyball matters in Nebraska, it matters in the Midwest, and it matters in the U.S. We needed a home prepared for the energy and enthusiasm we know fans will bring to these events. The CHI Center was the perfect partner. They care about fan experience and are excited to collaborate to bring an elite, professional sports experience to the Omaha Metro.”
On the hiring of Mendenhall, Nebraska Governor Jim Pillen said, “Diane has a strong commitment to athletics, and a great deal of experience with the University of Nebraska women’s volleyball program. She is the perfect person to spearhead the team that will represent our state in the new pro volleyball league.”
Mendenhall has had an extremely successful career in leadership, much of which has been centered around volleyball. Most recently, Mendenhall served as Vice President for Strategic Giving with Lincoln Community Foundation, having previously completed serving 20 years for the University of Nebraska in several administrative leadership positions. These roles included 12 years in Husker Athletics, as Volleyball Coach John Cook’s first Director of Volleyball Operations, a Senior Associate Athletics Director, as well as six years leading the 25,000 member Nebraska Alumni Association as the Executive Director. Diane completed her tenure at the University by serving as the Chancellor’s Director of External Engagement. She was honored to serve two Chancellors over eight years as a member of the Chancellor’s Cabinet.
Prior to her time at the University, Mendenhall was a national consultant for an employment communications company as well as a volleyball coach at the collegiate and high school levels. An accomplished speaker, Mendenhall has presented throughout the country and internationally. Coupled with her public speaking, she continues to be involved with numerous local and national non-profit organizations.
A native of Ogallala, Nebraska, Mendenhall is an alumna of the University of Kansas. She was a four-year starter for the Jayhawk volleyball team and a team captain as a senior. Many volleyball fans have known her as the former radio analyst of Nebraska Volleyball for 16 years. Mendenhall and her spouse, Rich, live in Lincoln. They have a grown daughter, Ally, who was Captain of Yale University’s volleyball team.
On Nebraska Pro Volleyball playing at the CHI Health Center, Roger Dixon, President and CEO of the Metropolitan Entertainment & Convention Authority (MECA), shared, “Nebraska is a volleyball state, and with CHI Health Center, Omaha’s history of accommodating sellout institutions and events, we have the experienced staff and a proven facility to support this promising new venture. This professional volleyball team will be a welcome addition to our community.”
On the hiring of Mendenhall, Nebraska Pro Volleyball Co-Founder, Chris Erickson, stated, “When looking for a President, we wanted someone who loves volleyball and has a deep appreciation for the opportunity this moment presents. Diane has lived volleyball, is an amazing leader, and an incredible ambassador for the stratospheric potential of the sport. We are incredibly excited to welcome her and watch her prepare this organization to compete for championships.”
Creighton Volleyball Head Coach, Kirsten Bernthal Booth, shared “Today is a special day for volleyball. I’ve known Diane for many years, and she is the perfect choice to lead Nebraska Pro Volleyball and help show the world what the Omaha Team will be capable of in professional volleyball.”
Legendary Husker Volleyball Coach, Terry Pettit, said, “Diane Mendenhall is a spectacular choice for President of the new professional volleyball franchise in Omaha. Her experience as a volleyball coach, as Director of Operations with Husker Volleyball program and head of Development for the Nebraska Athletic Department gives her the knowledge base and the professional relationships to position Omaha as a leader in professional sports.”
The PVF is expected to launch its first season in early 2024. Six of the team markets have been announced: Omaha, Atlanta, San Diego, Orlando, Grand Rapids and Columbus, and are currently building their teams.
ABOUT NEBRASKA PRO VOLLEYBALL
Nebraska Pro Volleyball aims to be the premier home of professional volleyball throughout the world. The Omaha-based team is owned by global music sensation Jason Derulo and entrepreneurs Danny White and Chris Erickson, Co-Founders of City+Ventures, an investment and business acceleration organization headquartered in Omaha. Having been named one of the fastest growing companies in Nebraska and the U.S., City+Ventures pursues opportunities focused on investing in people and communities. For more information, visit city-ventures.com.
As an international household name with more than 100 million followers across popular social media platforms, Derulo has sold more than 250 million singles worldwide, achieving 15 platinum singles. He joins Taylor Swift, Elton John, Janet Jackson, Michael Jackson, Britney Spears, Maroon 5, and Christina Aguilera as the only artists in history to achieve a #1 single on U.S. Pop Radio in three decades. Those wishing to be a part of Nebraska Pro Volleyball can email email@example.com.
ABOUT PRO VOLLEYBALL FEDERATION
Pro Volleyball Federation is REAL pro volleyball and the premier women’s professional volleyball league in North America. Pro Volleyball Federation will begin play in January 2024 with world class players and coaches, including some of America’s greatest volleyball players and elite players from around the world. Our entire focus is on ensuring that our level and quality of play, our treatment of players, the quality of our event presentations, and our day-to-day fan experience is world class and the very best offered in North America. Those wishing to become a part of Pro Volleyball Federation, whether as a player, coach, team owner, investor, sponsor, vendor, media company, or host venue, can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
ABOUT THE CHI CENTER
The CHI Health Center Omaha arena and convention center is managed by the Metropolitan Entertainment & Convention Authority (MECA), a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization that builds and operates public venues in Omaha, Nebraska. Positioned between the Missouri River and rapidly growing north downtown Omaha, the CHI Health Center is 1.1-million-square-foot facility, boasting an 18,300-person arena and attached convention center, complete with three large exhibition halls and meeting space.
Over the past nearly two decades, the CHI Health Center has been selected for multiple NCAA championships, including women’s volleyball. The venue had hosted the NCAA volleyball championships three times prior to 2021, with The University of Nebraska-Lincoln claiming two of those victories in front of record audiences. NCAA volleyball regular season attendance records have also been made in Omaha, with the instate rivalry between the University of Nebraska Huskers and the Creighton Bluejays, drawing large and enthusiastic fanbases.
Editor’s Note: Attached is Mendenhall’s headshot “Photo Credit: Nebraska Pro Volleyball” & a sold-out volleyball match at CHI Health Center for media use with “The Texas Longhorns take on the Louisville Cardinals during the Division I Women’s Championship held at CHI Health Center Omaha on December 17, 2022 in Omaha, Nebraska. (Photo by Rebecca S. Gratz/NCAA Photos via Getty Images) 7/13/2023”