Pepperdine has won five NCAA titles in its history, four of them coming under the direction of legendary head coach Marv Dunphy in three different decades. The five championships are the second-most in the sport's history.
1978 NCAA CHAMPIONS
Pepperdine won its first-ever NCAA team title in 1978, as the Waves outlasted local rival UCLA by scores of 15-12, 11-15, 15-8, 5-15, 15-12 in a match played at St. John Arena in Columbus, Ohio. Directed by second-year head coach Marv Dunphy, the Waves advanced to the NCAA Championships by defeating San Diego State and Long Beach State in the Western Selection Tournament at Pauley Pavilion. Pepperdine notched a come-from-behind 9-15, 15-1, 9-15, 15-13, 15-12 victory over host Ohio State in the NCAA semifinals before defeating the Bruins in the title match. Mike Blanchard was named the event's Most Valuable Player and was joined on the All-NCAA Championships squad by teammates Jay Anderson and Rod Wilde. Pepperdine completed the season with a 21-4 record.
1985 NCAA CHAMPIONS
Fielding perhaps the best-ever team in the program's history, Pepperdine defeated local rival USC by scores of 10-15, 15-10, 15-7, 15-13 at UCLA's Pauley Pavilion to claim its second NCAA title. The Waves had advanced to the championship match in 1983 and 1984, but were beaten both times by UCLA. The championship was a perfect farewell gift for Pepperdine head coach Marv Dunphy, who took a sabbatical from the Waves to coach the U.S. National Team. Pepperdine earned an automatic berth to the NCAA Championships after claiming the Western Intercollegiate Volleyball Association title with a perfect 18-0 mark. Bob Ctvrtlik was selected the event's Most Valuable Player and was joined on the All-NCAA Championships squad by teammates Mike Fitzgerald, Matt Rigg and Troy Tanner. Pepperdine completed the season with a sparkling 25-2 record.
1986 NCAA CHAMPIONS
In one of the most dramatic comebacks in Pepperdine volleyball history, the Waves rallied from a 14-12 deficit in the fifth and deciding game to defeat USC for the second consecutive year by scores of 7-15, 15-13, 15-11, 5-15, 16-14 at Recreation Hall in State College, Pa. Directed by former Pepperdine All-American and first-year head coach Rod Wilde, the Waves advanced to the NCAA Championships after defeating Hawaii and UCLA in the Western Selection Tournament at Loyola Marymount. Pepperdine posted a 15-11, 13-15, 15-11, 15-12 win over host Penn State in the NCAA semifinals before rallying to defeat USC. Steve Friedman was named the event's Most Valuable Player and was joined on the All-NCAA Championships squad by teammates Matt Rigg and Rob Scott. Pepperdine completed the season with a 22-7 record.
1992 NCAA CHAMPIONS
Combining a consistent hitting attack, a dominating block and tenacious defense, Pepperdine swept top-ranked Stanford by scores of 15-7, 15-13, 16-14 at Ball State's University Arena in Muncie, Ind., to claim its fourth NCAA volleyball championship. Head coach Marv Dunphy's team secured its eighth NCAA Championships appearance after shocking Long Beach State by scores of 15-13, 15-13, 11-15, 17-16 in the title match of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Tournament at the Bren Events Center in Irvine. The Waves recorded a three-game sweep over Penn State in the semifinal round before defeating Stanford in the championship match. Alon Grinberg was named the event's Most Valuable Player and was joined on the All-NCAA Championships squad by teammates Chip McCaw and Tom Sorensen. Pepperdine completed the season with a 24-4 record.
2005 NCAA CHAMPIONS
If the 1985 team is considered the best Pepperdine team ever, the 2005 followed the same blueprint for building a successful team. The 2005 team resembled its 20-year predecessor, ending the season with the same 25-2 overall record, posted a 15-match win streak, was known as being one of the top blocking teams in the nation and won the national title at UCLA's Pauley Pavilion. With AVCA National Player of the Year Sean Rooney picking apart opponents at will and freshman Jonathan Winder setting the team to a .358 hitting percentage, Marv Dunphy coached the Waves to the program's fifth national title and his fourth in as many decades. In the championship match, Pepperdine rallied back from down 2-1 to force a fifth and final game. In the deciding game, the Waves jumped out to an 8-1 lead before handing the Bruins their first postseason loss at Pauley Pavilion. Rooney was tabbed the tournament's Most Outstanding Player, while John Parfitt and Winder were selected to the all-tournament team.