2024 First Point Collegiate Challenge

UCLA Men's Volleyball 2024: What To Know

UCLA Men's Volleyball 2024: What To Know

Some schools are so paired with success in certain sports that they become synonymous with the sports themselves. That describes UCLA men’s volleyball.

Jan 4, 2024 by Briar Napier
UCLA Men's Volleyball 2024: What To Know

Kansas men’s basketball. Alabama football. UConn women’s basketball.

Some schools in college athletics are so paired with success in a certain sport that they almost become synonymous with the sport itself, where even non-diehards know who they are and what they bring to the table almost every season.

That exact comparison can be made with UCLA and men’s volleyball, as it is the most dominant program in the sport’s history.

All-Americans, Olympians and hall of famers have played men’s volleyball for the Bruins – and often won a lot of hardware during their time there, too – as the sport, which frequently sees its national champions come from the western part of the country, has seen more collegiate national titles earned by the program based in Westwood, Los Angeles, than any by and other school.

UCLA is royalty in men’s volleyball, and it doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon.

FloVolleyball will play host to numerous Bruins matches throughout the year, as they look to grow their massive collection of volleyball hardware.

Have the Bruins caught your eye, but you don’t know where to start? Below is a handy beginner’s guide breaking down most of what there is to know about UCLA men’s volleyball – and where to check them out, as the start of the collegiate men’s volleyball season soon will be underway.

What Is The History Of UCLA Men’s Volleyball?

First having played a volleyball match in 1953, UCLA men’s volleyball has since grown a reputation as one of the most successful college sports overall, men’s or women’s, of all time. 

Hall-of-fame coach Al Scates, who took over in 1963 and coached the Bruins for nearly a half-century until retiring in 2012, was vital in creating a culture of excellence in the UCLA men’s volleyball program. He won an eye-popping 1,239 games in his legendary career. 

The Bruins have been going strong since, consistently being one of the nation’s top men’s volleyball teams, while capturing their most recent national title in 2023, going 31-2 on the year and beating fellow powerhouse Hawaii in the final. 

How Many National Championships Has UCLA Men’s Volleyball Won?

With 20 national championships, no school is more successful in the sport of men’s volleyball than UCLA, with 19 of those titles won by Scates, tying him with Arkansas’ John McDonnell (in track and field) for the most national championships by a single coach in a single sport. 

The Bruins have three-peated on three different occasions (including a four-peat from 1981-1984), but their success had been slightly tempered until recently, as Scates won his final national title in 2006. 

UCLA’s 2023 crown snapped the 17-year drought, however, and marked the school’s first men’s volleyball title in the post-Scates era. 

Who Coaches UCLA Men’s Volleyball?

Former Bruins player and coaching assistant John Speraw returned to the program in 2012 from UC Irvine to succeed his mentor, and he’s been at the helm ever since. 

Speraw is unique in that he’s not just a college coach, but an international one, too – roles he’s balanced with great success. 

Also the head coach of the United States’ men’s national volleyball team since 2013, Speraw’s highlights on a global stage include leading the United States to a bronze medal at the 2016 Olympics and gold medals at the 2015 and 2023 FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Cups. 

Mixed in with his first coaching national title at UCLA (and fourth overall after three titles at UC Irvine), Speraw, a two-time and reigning AVCA Coach of the Year, is about as decorated as it gets in men’s volleyball.

Where Does UCLA Men’s Volleyball Play?

Pauley Pavilion, most famous for being a cathedral of college basketball, is a temple in men’s volleyball, too. 

Paired with banners celebrating the Bruins’ national championships in both hoops and gymnastics, is one celebrating UCLA’s men’s volleyball success, as well.

Nearly 10,000 fans packed the arena in 1984 to watch the Bruins beat Pepperdine for the national championship, and that’s still a Pauley Pavilion men’s volleyball record. 

In What League Does UCLA Men’s Volleyball Play?

One of the few sports at UCLA that will not be affected by the Bruins’ move from the Pac-12 Conference to the Big Ten Conference in 2024, men’s volleyball has, and will continue to be (for the foreseeable future), a member of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, a league that includes Olympic sports that aren’t directly sponsored by a school’s main conference. 

The seven-team league features in-state foes Stanford, Pepperdine and USC, plus western-based BYU and Grand Canyon, and is notoriously brutal. Last season, UCLA won its first MPSF Men’s Volleyball Championship title since 2006 en route to the 2023 national title.

UCLA Men’s Volleyball Notable Alumni

Some of the greatest names in the history of men’s volleyball have suited up for the Bruins, become standouts in Westwood and gone on to be true superstars in the sport with legendary careers. 

For instance, Karch Kiraly, the only player (man or woman) to have ever won Olympic medals of any color in both indoor and beach volleyball (having won gold in each discipline), won three national championships under Scates to build upon his resume as arguably the greatest men’s volleyball player of all time. 

He’s one of nine former Bruins men’s volleyball players to be inducted into the International Volleyball Hall of Fame as part of a stacked list that also includes Sinjin Smith (the first player to win 100 career beach volleyball tournaments) and beach partner Randy Stoklos (the first player to earn $1 million playing beach volleyball), among many others who have had decorated careers within, and outside, the program.

First Point Collegiate Challenge Schedule

All Times Central

January 19th

  • 1:30pm – No. 12 USC vs No. 11 Ball State
  • 4;00pm – No. 1 UCLA vs No. 7 Ohio State
  • 6:30pm – No. 9 Stanford vs No. 3 Penn State

January 20th

  • 1:30pm – No. 12 USC vs No. 7 Ohio State
  • 4:00pm – No. 9 Stanford vs No. 11 Ball State
  • 6:30pm – No. 1 UCLA vs No. 3 Penn State

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