Sara Thomas-Dietrich returned to her alma mater as an assistant coach in February 2018.
No stranger to coaching success, Thomas-Dietrich spent seven seasons from 2011-2017 as the head coach of her high school alma mater, Althoff Catholic High School in Belleville, Ill., culminating with an Illinois Class 3A state title and 41-1 record in 2017.
Thomas-Dietrich coached 10 players that went on to play college volleyball, five all-state selections, three conference players of the year, numerous all-conference selections, and twice earned coach of the year honors from the Belleville News-Democrat.
In addition to her coaching duties, Thomas-Dietrich worked in private business in the areas of sales and marketing, event coordination and customer experience.
During her playing career, the former Sara Thomas helped the Bears to three NCAA Tournaments, including a trip to the second round in 2006, and won Missouri Valley Conference Defensive Player of the year honors as a senior in 2007. Also a first-team all-MVC pick that season, she averaged 3.20 kills on .279 hitting, 3.45 digs and 1.23 blocks per set, finished her career with 797 kills, 1,117 digs, 316 blocks and 288 assists in 131 matches.
Thomas-Dietrich graduated from MSU with a Hospitality & Restaurant Administration degree in 2009. She and her husband Brad have two daughters, Emma and Charlotte.
Stokes on Thomas-Dietrich:
“I have kept my eye on Sara after she graduated as I knew she was going to develop into a great coach. After winning a state championship this past fall as well as playing for Missouri State when we went to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, Sara knows what it takes to win at a high level. She is one of the best six-rotation players I have ever coached. Being named Defensive Player of the Year in the Valley for being able to block and defend proves that. She can train any position on the floor and will make an immediate impact in the development of both our middles and right sides. Her enthusiasm for coaching and passion for the Bears will make an impression on everyone she meets.”
Director of Operations
Former MSU standout Karen Rivatto joined the Bears’ staff in June 2015 as a graduate assistant, and has since transitioned to Director of Operations, which became a full-time position in February 2018. In her role, Rivatto handles myriad duties, including team travel, alumni relations, video, statistical analysis, practice, camps, and other administrative tasks.
Originally from Porto Alegre, Brazil, Rivatto was an outside hitter for Missouri State from 2011-2013, after beginning her college career at Northeastern Junior College in Sterling, Colo.
At MSU, Rivatto led the Bears with 290 kills and a 3.02 per set average in 2011 as a second-team all-MVC selection, recording 12 double-doubles on the season as MSU advanced to the NCAA Tournament. After missing the 2012 campaign with an injury, she returned to the lineup and posted 3.01 kills per set for the 21-11 Bears in 2013, helping the team to a 12-6 MVC record thanks to an eight-match winning streak late in the season.
Rivatto earned her bachelor’s degree in Hospitality & Restaurant Administration from Missouri State in May 2014, and earned her Master’s in Administrative Studies – Producing and Screenwriting, in December 2016.