Ibraheem Suberu, who built the Pittsburg State University women’s volleyball program into one of the perennial powers in the MIAA during his 15-year tenure, has retired.

Suberu, 44, cited his desire to “take a long time off” and his comfort in leaving the Gorilla program in a better place than he found it in 1999 as the guiding motivations for his unexpected departure.

“Making this decision was very hard on a lot of levels and I am sure it will come as a surprise to the many wonderful people who are significant in many ways to our program: our past, current and future Gorillas, colleagues on our staff and in the profession, mentors and community of great friends on campus and beyond,” Suberu said.

“I am very grateful to everyone whose vision and energy made my being a part of this exceptional educational institution and community of Pittsburg, Kansas, possible – from Coach Broyles, Dr. Bryant, Mr. Patterson, the late Tommy Riggs, President Scott, Jim Johnson, Diana Polston, former team members, current team members and their families, our outstanding colleagues at PSU Athletics, along with so many others on campus, and in and outside of Pittsburg, to whom I owe tremendous lifetime of thanks. I appreciate Jim’s support over the years and his caring understanding when I shared my decision that this is the right time for me to take a long time off from coaching for family reasons.”

Pitt State Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Jim Johnson said he was surprised but supportive of Suberu’s decision.

“I know I speak for all of our coaches and staff in PSU Athletics when I say we did not expect Coach Ib’s news, but we certainly understand how he came to this equally difficult and exciting decision for his future,” Johnson said. “We all have come to know him as a friend as well as a mentor for so many of our student athletes. Above all, he poured his heart and soul into the Gorilla volleyball program and the Pittsburg community. He will be sorely missed, but we are excited for him as he begins his journey in the next chapter of his life.”

Suberu inherited a Pitt State volleyball program that had won just 35 percent of its all-time matches when he was hired prior to the 1999 season.

His first squad managed just a 2-32 record, but by year three, the Gorillas went 17-11. In 2003, his squad won 26 matches — the program’s first 20-win season in 11 years — and earned the program’s first berth in the NCAA Division II National Tournament. His 2007 and 2008 squads each recorded 28 wins while making back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances.

The Gorillas made six trips to the NCAAs during Suberu’s tenure: 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and the squad was ranked among the nation’s top 25 programs by the AVCA in 2003, 2004, 2007, 2008 and 2009.

Suberu compiled a 264-237 record with the Gorillas, setting the school record in victories. During his 15 seasons, Pitt State recorded 45 percent of the program’s 590 all-time victories.

In addition to team success on the court, his squads consistently achieved at a high level in the classroom. His squads received the annual AVCA Academic Award 10 times with a program-best 3.72 GPA in the 2011-12 academic year.