Ball State’s Cruz named National Coach of Year

Photo courtesy of Ball State athletics

One year in NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball and Donan Cruz has already earned the nation’s top coaching honor.

The AVCA announced Tuesday that the Ball State coach was selected as the National Coach of the Year.

Cruz guided Ball State to its first MIVA championship in 20 years and the No. 2 overall seed for the NCAA Tournament. The Cardinals were also ranked No. 4 in both the national coaches poll and national media poll – the program’s highest national ranking in its 58-year history.


Cruz was hired at Ball State after leading Grand View to a NAIA national championship last season. In addition, Cruz in 2021 earned the NAIA National Coach of the Year for the fourth time while at Grand View.

This is the third time a Ball State coach has earned the National Coach of the Year. Hall of Fame coach Don Shondell received the honor in 1995 and 1996.

Along with unveiling the head coaching award, the AVCA announced Tuesday that John Hawks was named the National Assistant Coach of the Year.

Hawks helped lead UCLA to the MPSF regular season championship and an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.