Recap: What happened this college men’s volleyball offseason

Photo by Fabiana Huffaker

A lot has happened in college men’s volleyball since the NCAA Tournament in May.

With the regular season just days away, it’s time to get caught up on the top news from the offseason. Check out the top news items to know heading in the 2020 season.

Rainbow Warriors dominate Preseason All-American Team
Hawai’i led all schools with four Off the Block Preseason All-Americans, including three Rainbow Warriors earning First-Team All-American honors. BYU, Lewis, Stanford and UC Irvine each also had multiple Preseason All-American Team selections. To view all 20 players named to the Preseason All-American Team, click here.

Hawai’i overwhelming preseason favorite to win 2020 championship
Hawai’i received all but two first-place votes to open the season at No. 1 in the national coaches poll that was released earlier this month. The Rainbow Warriors ended last season winning the Big West championship and advanced to the NCAA Tournament finals. To view the entire preseason national coaches poll, click here.

Six HBCU schools to add men’s volleyball in 2021
A $1 million grant has enabled six Historically Black Colleges and Universities from the same NCAA Division II conference to launch men’s volleyball programs in 2021. The First Point Volleyball Foundation and USA Volleyball in September presented a grant to Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in support of Kentucky State, Central State, Benedict College, Paine College, Morehouse College and Fort Valley State all adding men’s volleyball programs. To read more about this conference adding men’s volleyball, click here.

Burch replaces retired Hanson as Ohio State head coach
Ohio State promoted assistant coach Kevin Burch to become the new head coach following the retirement of Hall of Fame coach Pete Hanson. Burch served on Hanson’s coaching staff and helped lead the Buckeyes to back-to-back NCAA championships in 2016-17. To read more about the Ohio State coaching change, click here.

Princeton’s Huhmann makes U.S. roster for big international events
The U.S. Men’s National Team roster for its biggest tournaments of 2019 featured one current college men’s volleyball player — Princeton opposite and middle attacker hybrid George Huhmann. Huhmann helped the United States win a silver medal at the FIVB Volleyball Nations League Finals and then qualify for the 2020 Olympics. To read more about Huhmann making the U.S. roster, click here.

Hawai’i unanimous pick to repeat as Big West champions
The Rainbow Warriors received every first-place vote in the Big West Preseason Poll. UC Santa Barbara finished the poll in second place, while the two-time defending NCAA champions Long Beach State came in third place. To read more about the Big West Preseason Poll, click here.

Barton tops ConfCarolinas preseason poll
.The defending ConfCarolinas champions Barton edged King by nine votes to finish atop the ConfCarolinas Preseason Poll. Along with these two teams, Mount Olive and Belmont Abbey both received first-place votes in the poll. To read more about the ConfCarolinas Preseason Poll, click here.

Princeton garners top spot in EIVA preseason poll
Princeton one year removed from making its first NCAA Tournament in 21 years was ranked No. 1 in the EIVA Preseason Coaches Poll. The team received all but one first-place vote with the other first-place vote being awarded to NJIT. To read more about the EIVA Preseason Coaches Poll, click here.

Lewis clear preseason favorite to win MIVA championship
Lewis received all but one first-place vote to earn the top spot in the MIVA Preseason Poll. The Flyers finished last season winning their first MIVA championship since 2012 and reached the NCAA Tournament semifinals. To read more about the MIVA Preseason Poll, click here.

BYU edges out UCLA in MPSF preseason poll
BYU received five first-place votes to finish atop the MPSF Preseason Coaches Poll. UCLA earned the other two first-place votes and received 31 votes in the conference poll — four fewer votes than BYU. To read more about the MPSF Preseason Coaches Poll, click here.

Penn State’s Wildman named National Player of Offseason
Outside attacker Brett Wildman was selected from a nationwide online vote as the Off the Block National Player of the Offseason. The Penn State sophomore was a member of the U.S. Men’s Junior National Team for the U21 Pan American Cup and earned the Best Score award after leading the tournament in kills. To read more about the National Player of the Offseason, click here.

New program St. Francis Brooklyn makes coaching change
St. Francis Brooklyn hired recently graduated Stevens libero Niko Lambert as its interim head coach for the program’s inaugural season in 2020. Lambert replaces former head coach Andy Mueller, who departed St. Francis Brooklyn earlier this fall to become an assistant coach with the Long Island University women’s volleyball team. To read more about the St. Francis Brooklyn coaching change, click here.

Charleston’s Senica leads Australia to U23 Asian quarterfinals
Charleston outside attacker Max Senica led Australia in kills in back-to-back matches during the opening round to help the team qualify for the quarterfinals at the Asian Men’s U23 Volleyball Championship. Among Sencia’s top performances included a match-high 19 kills in a sweep against Sri Lanka. To read more about Senica’s performance in this tournament, click here.

Vargas helps Puerto Rico knock off U.S. at Pan Am Games
Purdue Fort Wayne outside attacker Pelegrin Vargas had nine kills on a 47.37 percent offensive efficiency as Puerto Rico defeated the United States in five games in the Pan American Games fifth-place match. To read more about this match and Vargas’ performance, click here.

Hawai’i incoming recruit wins bronze medal at U21 World Championship
Middle attacker Guilherme Voss Messias Dos Santos had a match-high seven blocks as Brazil swept Russia 25-21, 27-25, 25-12 in the bronze-medal match of the FIVB U21 World Championship. The incoming Hawai’i freshman finished the tournament leading all players with a 0.88 blocks per game average and had a 65.1 percent offensive efficiency. To read more about Santos’ performance at the World Championship, click here.

Barton senior makes Round of 16 at U22 European Beach Championships
Barton opposite Angelos Mandilaris representing Greece advanced to the Round of 16 at the CEV U22 Beach Volleyball European Championships in Turkey. Manilaris is entering his senior season after winning back-to-back ConfCarolinas Offensive Player of the Year awards. To read more about Mandilaris’ beach volleyball performance, click here.

Penn State adds three high school All-Americans for 2020 season
Penn State led all schools with three incoming freshman recruits making the AVCA Boys High School Senior All-American Team. To view all the high school All-American Team selections, click here.

Lander postpones start of men’s volleyball program
Lander informed Off the Block it would delay the start of the men’s volleyball program that was initially slated to begin in 2020. The NCAA Division II school in South Carolina announced in 2019 that it would add men’s volleyball. To read more about Lander, click here.

Coker ends men’s volleyball program
Coker announced that after seven seasons it would eliminate its men’s volleyball program effective immediately. The Cobras are the fourth NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball program to be disbanded in the last five years. To read more about Coker ending its men’s volleyball program, click here.