Ohio State promotes Burch to be new head coach

Photo courtesy of Ohio State athletics

One of the winningest young coaches in college men’s volleyball will take over one of the most storied programs in the sport.

Ohio State announced Tuesday that it promoted assistant coach Kevin Burch to be the team’s new head coach.

“Kevin Burch has constructed a blueprint for the men’s volleyball program built on the same pillars and goals utilized as the foundation to our strategic plan,” Janine Oman, deputy director of athletics and men’s volleyball program administrator, said in a statement. “He has demonstrated a commitment to our eight stated values as an athletics & business advancement department – integrity, education, people, excellence, respect, innovation, community and tradition.”

Burch in his nine-year college coaching career has helped lead teams to seven NCAA championships, including being on the coaching staff for all three of the Buckeyes’ national titles. He was a volunteer assistant coach when Ohio State captured its first national title in 2011 and then returned to the coaching staff of recently retired Hall of Famer Pete Hanson to help the Buckeyes win back-to-back championships in 2016 and 2017.

Along with his time at Ohio State, Burch helped coach UC Irvine to the 2013 NCAA championship and was an assistant coach with Springfield as it captured the Division III NCAA championships in 2012 and 2014. In addition, Burch worked as the director of operations for Penn State women’s volleyball Hall of Fame coach Russ Rose and contributed to the Nittany Lions winning the 2014 NCAA championship.

“Guidance from exceptional mentors has been integral in my development as a leader,” Burch said in a statement. “I would not be the coach, husband, son or man I am today without the influence of coach Hanson. He has touched the lives of hundreds associated with OSU men’s volleyball, and none more than mine. My gratitude for him is boundless. I look forward to continuing his tradition of molding the young men currently in the program and further connecting with our many great alumni.”

Besides success on the court, Burch has worked during the last four seasons to help enhance all aspects of the Ohio State program.

More than 50 members of the men’s volleyball team have earned OSU Scholar-Athlete honors during Burch’s tenure as an assistant coach. He also formed the Hanson Legacy program endowment fund and developed an alumni job and internship database to help his current players find jobs.

Burch will replace Hanson to become the ninth head coach in the program’s history. Hanson opted to retire in April following his 35th season and having accumulated more than 700 victories as the Ohio State head coach.

The Buckeyes finished an injury-plagued 2019 season in seventh place in the MIVA and lost in the conference tournament semifinals to end their run of three consecutive MIVA championships.

Ohio State, though, returns several starters from last year’s team, including All-American opposite Jake Hanes. The team also will move into the Covelli Center, its new state of the art home arena, for the 2020 season.

“Kevin has been diligently preparing for this opportunity since 2008 when he first became a Buckeye,” Oman said in a statement. “He has showcased innovation, integration and adaptability over the past decade-plus while learning essential steps for success under a group of established leaders who are respected and admired throughout the volleyball community. Kevin has a clear and detailed view of Ohio State men’s volleyball’s past, present and future.”