2024 First Point Collegiate Challenge

Ohio State Men's Volleyball 2024: What To Know

Ohio State Men's Volleyball 2024: What To Know

Countless teams that have worn the Buckeyes moniker have achieved legendary status, but one such program at OSU, men’s volleyball, may fall under the radar.

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

Columbus, Ohio, is a sporting mecca, with mid-Ohio being home to one of the household names in all of collegiate athletics – Ohio State University.

Though countless teams that have proudly worn the famous Buckeyes moniker have achieved legendary status, one such program at OSU, men’s volleyball, may fall under the radar to most.

But it also makes it no surprise that, yes, OSU men’s volleyball is pretty good at what it does, too.

Multi-time national champions and historically one of the best-performing teams outside of the West Coast, the Buckeyes arguably were collegiate men’s volleyball’s top school of the 2010s. They’re now in a new decade and seeking more trophies to add to their large collection. 

Growth under a coach finding his footing was more than apparent a year ago, and with a taste of a deep postseason run back in its mouth, OSU is ready to storm back to the upper tier of men’s volleyball once again in the fast-approaching 2024 campaign.

Here’s a look at all there is to know about collegiate men’s volleyball’s gem of the Midwest, Ohio State ahead of the 2024 season:

What Is The History Of Ohio State Men’s Volleyball?

Ohio State has a proud history in men’s volleyball dating back to 1968, before the NCAA even started sponsoring it as a sport (that came in 1970). 

One of the most successful and most decorated collegiate men’s volleyball programs ever – especially east of the Mississippi River – the Buckeyes have made the NCAA Tournament 24 times in their history, many bids of which were earned under the leadership of AVCA and USA Volleyball Hall of Fame coach Pete Hanson, who manned the OSU sideline from 1985-2019 and retired third all-time in the sport in wins (712). 

The Buckeyes’ 42-match winning streak from 2016-2017 under Hanson’s tutelage is the school’s longest in any head-to-head sport, an incredible feat, considering how revered many of OSU’s teams are throughout the university’s history.

How Many National Championships Has Ohio State Men’s Volleyball Won?

No schools outside of California have captured more NCAA men’s volleyball national championships than Ohio State and BYU, which are tied at three each (Hawaii also has won three, though its 2002 title was later vacated). 

Amazingly, all of the Buckeyes’ titles have come in the past 12 years.

After making the national finals in 1977 and 2000, only to come up short each time, OSU finally got the job done in 2011, when it took down UC Santa Barbara in five sets for its first men’s volleyball national title. 

Hanson and the Buckeyes weren’t done. Before their winningest coach stepped down, they won back-to-back national championships in 2016 and 2017, winning the latter title in front of their home fans in Columbus. They beat BYU in the title match on both occasions in straight sets. 

Who Coaches Ohio State Men’s Volleyball?

Kevin Burch was handed the reins, promoted from assistant coach in 2019 and given the near-impossible task of trying to fill Hanson’s shoes upon his retirement. 

It definitely isn’t the easiest of assignments. It took a little bit for Burch to get settled and for OSU to make noise on a national stage once again. 

Burch’s initial season in 2020 was cut short due to COVID-19, while the Buckeyes’ next two seasons saw them fail to finish with a winning record. They missed out on the NCAA Tournament both times. 

OSU’s 2023 season, however, was a clear step forward for the program. 

Burch steered the Buckeyes to a 23-10 record, a conference tournament championship and an appearance in the NCAA quarterfinals, where they were then dumped out by Penn State. 

It was the first 20-win season for the team since its run to the national semifinals in 2018, and OSU and Burch will look to build off of last season’s successes, hoping to reestablish Ohio State as a year-in, year-out force to be reckoned with in men’s volleyball.

Where Does Ohio State Men’s Volleyball Play?

For much of its history, Ohio State men’s volleyball played at St. John Arena, also the home of the Buckeyes’ basketball teams until their move to Value City Arena in 1998. 

Men’s volleyball then moved from St. John Arena in favor of the brand-new Covelli Center on campus in 2019, which also houses OSU’s fencing, gymnastics, wrestling and women’s volleyball teams. 

A glitzy 3,700-seat arena that would make many Division I basketball programs jealous, it is scheduled to host the semifinal and final rounds of the 2025 National Collegiate Men’s Volleyball Championship and is an imposing venue for visitors, with OSU rolling on its home court to finish 14-2 inside the Covelli Center last season. 

In What League Does Ohio State Men’s Volleyball Play?

As the school’s usual athletics league, the Big Ten Conference, does not sponsor men’s volleyball, the Buckeyes instead play the sport as a member of the Midwest Intercollegiate Volleyball Association, of which they were a founding member with Ball State. They’re the only two members of the conference that have been with the MIVA for its entire existence. 

A strong league that also has seen members Loyola Chicago (which went back-to-back in 2014 and 2015) and Lewis (which won a since-vacated title in 2003) take home national championships, the Buckeyes and Cardinals have vacuumed up most of the league’s hardware as its two longest-serving schools. 

OSU has won 45 MIVA titles (28 regular season, 17 tournament) and BSU 38 (23 regular season, 15 tournament), while no other school has captured more than 12 league championships combined. 

Ohio State Men’s Volleyball Notable Alumni

Nineteen Buckeyes have won at least one MIVA Player of the Year award, while eight have been first-team AVCA All-Americans, but one man stands above as the undisputed OSU men’s volleyball G.O.A.T. – so much so that there’s even a national award given out nowadays that is named after him. 

France-born outside hitter Nicolas Szerszen (now representing Poland at the international level) holds just about every school attacking record in the OSU record book, closing his storied career as a two-time national champion and the Buckeyes’ all-time leader in kills, aces, points and more, upon his 2018 graduation. 

The AVCA National Player of the Year in 2016 (so far, the only Buckeye to win the honor), a three-time MIVA Player of the Year and three-time first-team AVCA All-American, Szerszen recently was named an OSU Athletics Hall of Fame inductee, while the Nicolas Szerszen Award now is awarded annually to the best men’s volleyball player in the NCAA (regular season) not born in the United States. A standard-bearer for Buckeye men’s volleyball, indeed.

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

How To Watch First Point Collegiate Challenge

Watch First Point Collegiate Challenge and men's volleyball on FloVolleyball and the FloSports app.

Join The Conversation on FloVolleyball Social