Pepperdine Men's Volleyball History

The rich tradition of the Pepperdine men’s volleyball program continues to this day. The proud owners of five NCAA championships, 10 regular-season conference titles and four* Mountain Pacific Sports Federation tournament crowns, the Waves regularly demonstrate a level of success that is sustained year in and year out on the beautiful Malibu campus.

Pepperdine’s most successful program has made the NCAA Championship event on 15* occasions, including six* times over the past 16 years. The Waves’ five NCAA championships (1978, 1985, 1986, 1992, 2005) are the second most of any school in the country and account for five of the nine NCAA titles that Pepperdine has won as a school.

Pepperdine has finished in the top six of the final AVCA poll in 17 of the last 20 seasons beginning in 1997.

Marv Dunphy

As a whole, the Waves have posted an overall record of 767-362 (.679)* in 46 seasons and a cumulative league mark of 545-281 (.660).* The Waves’ record in MPSF play since the league was established in 1993 is 341-164 (.675)*.

The backbone to the program’s success is head coach Marv Dunphy. Entering his 34th season in 2017, Dunphy is just one of three coaches in any sport to win an NCAA title in four different decades. He is believed to be just the fifth head coach in NCAA men’s volleyball history to reach the 500-wins milestone.

Fifty-one different Waves have earned All-American honors a total of 133 times, including 63 first-team selections all-time. There have been 23 All-American first team honorees that have received a total of 45 first team honors. Of the 47 total AVCA All-Americans, the 45 first and second-team nods are tied for the most of any school, alongside Brigham Young. Pepperdine has claimed a National Player of the Year award in nine different seasons, including eight of the last 19 years. Five different athletes have earned the honor from the American Coaches Volleyball Association on six occasions, more than any other school since the AVCA began issuing the award in 1991.

The men’s volleyball program played its inaugural season in 1971 under the direction of coach Moo Park.

Burt DeGroot inherited the head coaching position in 1973 and held the job for two years. Harlan Cohen took over in 1975 for two seasons and led Pepperdine to a share of the 1976 SCIVA title and a runner-up finish in the NCAA Championships.

Dunphy, who played for the Waves in 1972 and 1973 and then served as an assistant coach, became head coach in 1977 and led the Waves to a 15-5 mark. In 1978, Dunphy led the Waves to their second SCIVA co-championship and first-ever NCAA championship with a 21-4 overall record. Pepperdine defeated local power UCLA in five sets.

Dain Blanton / Craig Buck / Paul Carroll

Pepperdine advanced to the 1983 and 1984 NCAA title matches only to come away as runner-up to crosstown rival UCLA. The Waves continued on their historic four-year run by winning NCAA titles in 1985 with Dunphy and 1986 under Rod Wilde. Both title-clinching victories were over USC.

After a brief three-year hiatus to focus his efforts on coaching the United States National Team to a gold medal at the 1988 Olympics Games, Dunphy returned in 1989 and brought the volleyball program back to prominence in 1992 with the school’s fourth NCAA title.

Bob Ctvrtlik / Brad Keenan / Sean Rooney

Pepperdine won its fifth and most recent national crown in 2005. The 1985 and 2005 teams both went 25-2, good for the best overall winning percentage (.926) in school history. The 2002 Waves won a school-record 29 matches.

In addition to its five titles, Pepperdine placed second at the NCAA Championships in 1976, 1983, 1984, 1998, 2002 and 2008*.

George Roumain / Tom Sorensen / Troy Tanner

Pepperdine has had a representative competing in the Olympic Games for nine consecutive games. Four-time All-American Sean Rooney played in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, helping the team win a gold medal in 2008. In 2016, Rooney’s former teammate and two-time All-American Fred Winters will compete for the Canadian National Team.

For the 2016 Olympics, Dunphy will serve in his seventh Olympic Games, this time as a scouting coach for the U.S. Women’s National Team. Assistant coach David Hunt also earned an assistant coaching position on the team, while volunteer coach Kayla Banwarth will compete as the starting libero.

Jonathan Winder / Fred Winters / Scott Wong

* see record book for more details

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