Ohio State begins the 2014 season on Friday night
Carlston challenges three others to participate
Van Vark brings along collegiate, club and USA Volleyball coaching experience
Program has participated in over 300 hours of community service in 2014
Five freshmen and two transfers make up highly-touted 2014 class
The 2014 season marks Geoff Carlston's seventh as Ohio State's head coach. He took the reins of the women's volleyball team on Feb. 5, 2008 and is the fifth head coach of the Buckeyes in the 43-year history of the program.
Carlston enters '14 with a career winning percentage of .684 in 14 years as a Division-I head coach, racking up 316 victories compared to just 146 defeats. His squads have averaged over 22.5 wins per season and own 10 years of 20 or more victories.
The native Minnesotan has made his mark in the state of Ohio, guiding the Bobcats of Ohio University and the Buckeyes to a combined nine NCAA Tournament appearances. Carlton directed Ohio State to four consecutive postseason berths highlighted by back-to-back Sweet 16 advancements in 2010-11.
Before arriving in Columbus, Carlston started his NCAA Tournament success with five straight Mid-American Conference championships to propel Ohio into the big dance, including his first Sweet 16 showing in 2005. Carlston's squads are a combined 6-3 all-time in the NCAA First Round and 4-0 at Ohio State. He led the Bobcats to a conference crown in each of his five campaigns in Athens.
Carlston's pupils have often been recognized amongst the nation's elite, totaling nine All-American accolades. Ohio State's Katie Dull (2009) and Emily Danks (2011) earned All-America honorable mention from the AVCA while Mari Hole was chosen in back-to-back seasons as an '11 honorable mention and Third Team member in 2012. Five Bobcats picked up All-American status under the tutelage of Carlston. On the conference level, Carlston has molded 10 All-Big Ten, 25 All-MAC and eight All-NSIC performers since 2000.
Academic success has followed Carlston throughout his career as well. Student-athletes receiving academic all-conference laurels has been a common occurrence under Carlston, racking up a total of 70 such awards: 35 Academic All-Big Ten, 25 Academic All-MAC, 10 Academic All-NSIC). His program was honored by the NCAA in May 2014 with the Public Recognition Award, given to teams scoring in the top-10 percent nationally in each sport based on their most recent multi-year Academic Progress Rates (APR).
The 2013 Buckeyes swept through a 12-0 nonconference and finished the season with 18 wins overall. Senior Kaitlyn Leary was tabbed an AVCA All-America honorable mention while Taylor Sandbothe was placed on the Big Ten's All-Freshman squad.
Ohio State went on a four-year run of 20-or-more wins starting in 2009. In 2012, the Buckeyes registered a 23-11 overall ledger, including a 13-7 conference mark to earn place fourth in the daunted Big Ten Conference. Carlston and the Buckeyes notched the program's first ever win at Nebraska (3-1, Oct. 26) that season. Senior Mari Hole was named AVCA Third Team All-American and unanimously voted All-Big Ten while fellow senior Emily Danks and junior Kaitlyn Leary were All-B1G honorable mentions.
Carlston conducted a pair of treks to the Sweet 16 in 2010 and 2011. Juniors Mari Hole and Emily Danks picked up All-America nods during a 21-15 campaign in 2011 after the '10 Buckeyes notched a 24-12 overall win-loss tally en route to the first Sweet 16 jaunt.
In just his second season at Ohio State, Carlston pushed the Buckeyes to a 25-10 season record and 12-8 Big Ten tally in 2009. OSU returned to the NCAA Tournament via an at-large bid and hosted the first and second rounds in Columbus.
During the summer of 2011, Carlston served as head coach of one of the USA A-2 squads that played at the USA Volleyball Open National Championships Women's Open, finishing second.
Carlston came to Ohio State after spending five years as head coach at Ohio University, building a powerhouse in the Mid-American Conference. His squads reached the NCAA Tournament every season and won five straight conference crowns with an overall record of 144-22 during Carlston's time in Athens. The Bobcats won 78 of 80 MAC matches and went 14-1 in the conference tournament with four tourney titles. Four Bobcats were named MAC Player of the Year and a pair were tabbed MAC Freshman of the Year. He was named the MAC Coach of the Year four times and was twice named the Mideast Region Coach of the Year.
Prior to Ohio, Carlston posted a 49-42 record in three seasons at the helm of the Concordia University-St. Paul (Minn.) program. He took the Golden Bears from an 0-18 mark in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference the season before his arrival to a serious run at the league title in 2002.
CUSP finished the 2002 campaign with a 24-9 record - its best in Division II competition - and earned its first national ranking during the season. Carlson recruited three consecutive NSIC Freshman of the Year selections to play for the Golden Bears.
In the summer of 2002, Carlston served as coach of a Division II all-star team that played in a tournament in Holland. Competing against the top Dutch college and professional league teams, the group won gold and bronze medals. Before Concordia, Carlston served two seasons as a student assistant coach at Minnesota while completing a master's degree in social work.
Carlston began his coaching career in 1994 as head coach at Hopkins High School. In his two-year tenure, his teams went 41-17 and captured the Classic Lake Conference title both seasons.
He left the high school ranks for two years of service in Belize as a Peace Corps volunteer but stayed close to the sport, serving as head coach of the Belize women's national team and as an assistant for the men's national team. He helped develop a year-round training program and the team finished fourth at the 1997 Central America championship, earning the country's first international victories.
Upon his return to the United States, Carlston became head coach of the 17's team of the Minnesota One Junior Olympics club, which competed in the 17 Open Division at USA Nationals three consecutive years under his direction.
In June 1993, Carlston earned his undergraduate degree in speech communication from the University of Minnesota, where he played on the club team for the Gophers. The Plymouth, Minn., native is married to the former Sara Tibesar of St. Paul. The couple has a son, Teddy.
Carlston's Career Record by Season
(1) Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference