18:00 PM

Ohio State men’s volleyball coach announces retirement after 35-year career

Pete Hanson is stepping down after more than three decades in charge of The Ohio State University men’s volleyball program.

Hanson, a 2017 inductee into the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame, is retiring with over four decades of collegiate volleyball coaching experience. He led Ohio State to three NCAA Championships and was named the National Coach of the Year four times.

“I love being in the gym, I love competing, but there are some things that finally took their toll on me physically,” Hanson said at a press conference today. “As I told our team yesterday, I can’t give them the effort that I expect out of them, myself. That’s not what our program is about and certainly it’s time to let someone else lead this program.”

In a statement, Hanson was quick to share credit for his success with members of the Department of Athletics, his coaching staff, student-athletes and his family.

“Reflecting back on the 35 years spent as head coach at Ohio State I would be remiss if I did not say ‘thank you’ to the many people who helped me not only to begin my journey at Ohio State, but also provided support and guidance along the way,” Hanson said.

“The legacy of Ohio State volleyball was and has been built by all of those fine young men that wore the scarlet and gray. 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. … I will miss Ohio State and the volleyball program, but I will never forget it.”

The American Volleyball Coaches Association selected Hanson as their National Coach of the Year in 2000, 2011 and 2016, and inducted him into the AVCA Hall of Fame in 2015. Volleyball Magazine awarded its national coaching honor to Hanson in both 1998 and 2011.

“Pete Hanson’s Buckeye career embodied our mantra of ‘The People. The Tradition. The Excellence,’” Senior Vice President and Wolfe Foundation Endowed Athletics Director Gene Smith said. “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.”

Hanson’s career ends with an overall winning percentage of .665 (712-359) and conference mark of 312-102 (.754). The 712 wins rank third all-time in NCAA history. His Buckeyes were crowned Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MIVA) regular season champions in 18 of his 35 seasons. Hanson added 13 MIVA Tournament titles as well.

Players on Hanson’s teams have also performed in the classroom, including more than 200 Academic All-Big Ten honors. Five student-athletes from the volleyball program were selected as Big Ten Medal of Honor recipients under Hanson.

“We always tell our young men from the first day they walk in the door, ‘you are here to be a student first. You are here to be an athlete second,’” he said. “They’ve knocked it out of the park academically.”