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Men’s Volleyball: Ohio State head coach Pete Hanson announces retirement

Ohio State head men’s volleyball coach Pete Hanson will be inducted into the USA Volleyball Hall of Fame in Columbus on May 22. Credit: Courtesy of OSU Athletics

After 35 years as the head coach of the Ohio State men’s volleyball team, Pete Hanson announced his retirement on Thursday.

In his storied coaching career, Hanson has led three Ohio State teams to an NCAA Championship — in 2011, 2016 and 2017 — has been named the National Coach of the Year three times and has recorded 712 career wins, the third-most in NCAA history.

“I will certainly miss Ohio State and the volleyball program, but I will never forget it,” Hanson said in a release.

Hanson has also been inducted into three Hall-of-Fame classes: the American Volleyball Coaches Association in 2015, the Ohio State Athletics in 2017 and the USA Volleyball in 2019.

“Being in the Hall of Fame once obviously is a feat in and of itself. To do it three times is something just surreal and something crazy,” senior setter Sanil Thomas said. “I think what you wouldn’t expect is the same — I would imagine, the same amount of passion he brought day one he brings that passion day — a lot; it’s a lot of days. That’s why he deserves this more than anyone.”

In Hanson’s tenure as head coach, the Buckeyes  won the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association regular season title 18 times, over half of the total seasons he had coached. In his 34 years, he has been awarded as the MIVA Coach of the Year 13 times.

However, much of the impact Hanson has made is reflected in the players he coached.

Hanson has coached 13 MIVA Player of the Year award winners, 17 players who ended up playing professionally and 17 players who competed for their national team.

“The legacy of Ohio State volleyball was and has been built by all of those fine young men that wore the Scarlet and Gray,” Hanson said in a release. “I am forever indebted to them, as they helped to ensure that Ohio State volleyball remained one of the most respected programs in the country.”

Hanson also made an impact off the court and into the classroom. More than 200 of his players have earned Academic All-Big Ten honors, and, in the past 10 years, 65 percent of his players have earned Ohio State scholar-athlete recognition.

“His impact far exceeds the men’s volleyball program, and even Ohio State Athletics, making a positive difference to collegiate volleyball across the country,” Ohio State deputy director of athletics and men’s volleyball administrator Janine Oman said. “The development of young men has always been paramount to Pete, equipping them to lead successful lives.”

But on the court, especially inside St. John Arena, Hanson made his lasting mark. In his tenure, Ohio State has recorded six undefeated seasons at home and one 42-match winning streak, the longest in Ohio State history for a head-to-head sport.

“Pete Hanson’s Buckeye career embodied our mantra of ‘The People. The Tradition. The Excellence,’” Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said in a statement. “He’s found success on the court and molded young men off of it, preparing them for life after college. Pete leaves a lasting legacy at The Ohio State University.”

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