ST. LOUIS, Mo. - The American Midwest Conference (AMC) has announced that Michael Talamantes has been named the AMC Coach of Character Award winner.


Talamantes, head men's and women's volleyball coach at Park University, has a men's and women's combined record of 383-112 as the leader for the Pirates, including four NAIA Championships and four NAIA Tournament Coach of the Year awards.


"We don't use one specific drill or technique to build character in our athletes and team," said Talamantes. "In our program we feel this is an ongoing process that we stress in everything we do. We believe you have to be consistent in how you treat people, how you treat yourself and then the outcomes take care of themselves. When someone isn't exhibiting this behavior, we also talk about how to bring them back without using negative techniques, as that usually has the opposite effect of what we are going for."


With the help and under the direction of Coach Talamantes, the Park volleyball program has set a standard, which all Park programs are measured against. Coach Talamantes and the team members' volunteer are many events including: Park University annual food drive for Harvesters, Spoke at VanHorn High School to student/athletes and coaches about the College experience, Champions of Character and the importance of education and they helped out at Harvesters.


Since Coach Talamantes took the head coaching position in 2012, the volleyball team has maintained a team GPA of 3.64.


"During the four seasons we worked together, Coach Talamantes has shown to be a professional of integrity that is dedicated to helping his athletes not only to thrive on the court, but also succeed in the classroom," said former women's volleyball player Daniela Duarte. "Coaching both women's and men's volleyball programs at Park can be quite challenging, but Coach Talamantes has managed to do it magnificently for the past six years with the confidence, leadership and work ethic that every athlete hopes for in a role model."


In 2014, Coach Talamantes led the Pirates to a NAIA National Championship on the men's and women's side, combining for 70 wins and he was named Burns and McDonnell Coach of the Year award from the 2015 Kansas City Sports Commission.


"His passion for teaching young people the game of volleyball shows each time his team scores a point and especially when his team scores a pivotal point in a match," said Steve Wilson, Associate Athletic Director/Media Relations and Compliance. "He gets excited, but it's never in a way that will show up an opponent. It's a genuine excitement for his student-athletes and he celebrates each big point with them. It truly is something fun to watch when his team is playing."


In addition to coaching at Park, Coach Talamantes also serves as head coach of Asics MAVS, a club in Kansas City, where he's trained multiple NCAA-Division I athletes and won a Junior National Championship in 2013.


The American Midwest Conference is a 13-school Division I conference with schools in Arkansas, Illinois, Missouri and Arkansas. It was chartered in 1986 as the Show-Me Collegiate Conference becoming the American Midwest Conference in 1994. The Conference sponsors 18 championships, nine each for men and women – baseball, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's cross country, men's and women's golf, men's and women's soccer, softball, men's and women's indoor track & field, men's and women's outdoor track & field, women's volleyball and men's  wrestling.