Stanford volleyball: 5-time NCAA champion John Dunning retires

STANFORD, Calif. — John Dunning, a 32-year veteran of the women’s volleyball coaching ranks and five-time national champion head coach, announced his retirement Monday.

“I am a very lucky person. I have had the joy of coaching in a sport I love for decades, but have decided that it is time to retire,” said Dunning, who in December led Stanford to its record-tying seventh NCAA title with a 3-1 victory over Texas. “I have had the wonderful opportunity to coach so many great student-athletes, and work with amazing people in amazing programs at great universities. I am grateful for all the support I have received and hope in the coming weeks to be able to reach out and thank people for all that they have done for me.”

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Dunning directed Stanford to three national championships (2001, 2004, 2016) and eight conference titles during his 16-year tenure on The Farm. He boasts five national titles overall (1985 and 1986 at Pacific) — which ranks as the second-most in NCAA Division I history — and was inducted into the American Volleyball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2011.

In 32 seasons as a head coach, Dunning’s teams never missed the postseason. He led 12 teams to the Final Four, including eight of his 16 Stanford squads. Dunning joins current Penn State head coach Russ Rose as the only coaches in the history of the sport to guide 10 teams to the national championship match. Dunning finishes his career with an 888-185 overall record (.828).

“I want to thank Coach Dunning for all he has done to keep our women’s volleyball program among the nation’s elite during his 16 seasons at Stanford,” said Jaquish & Kenninger Director of Athletics Bernard Muir. “John is regarded as one of the best in his field by his peers, and he will be truly missed as a leader within our Stanford athletic community. On and off the court, John’s tireless dedication and passion for mentoring our student-athletes have proved instrumental in sustaining the success of our program. I want to wish him and his family well in retirement.”

Dunning is a four-time national coach of the year, three-time regional coach of the year and seven-time conference coach of the year. He holds a 91-27 mark in NCAA tournament play, winning 77.1 percent of his postseason matches. Throughout his illustrious career, Dunning has coached 38 All-Americans to 77 total honors and produced seven national players of the year.

Dunning holds a 451-83 mark at Stanford, the most wins in program history. While on The Farm, he also mentored three Olympians in Logan Tom (2000, 2004, 2008, 2012), Ogonna Nnamani (2004, 2008) and Foluke Akinradewo (2012, 2016), and has produced numerous U.S. National Team selections.

Prior to coming to Stanford, Dunning spent 16 seasons as the head coach at Pacific. During his tenure in Stockton, he compiled an impressive 437-102 (.811) record, was named Big West Coach of the Year four times and led the Tigers to two NCAA championships, an NCAA runner-up finish, five Big West Conference titles and 16 consecutive NCAA tournament bids. In 2007, Dunning was inducted into the University of the Pacific Hall of Fame.

Dunning first stepped onto the Pacific campus in 1985 and guided the team to a national title in his first year as a collegiate head coach. In 1986, he helped the Tigers repeat their landmark feat. Dunning’s pair of titles with the volleyball program remain the only two national championships in any sport in Pacific’s history. After capturing an NCAA title with Stanford in his first season (2001), Dunning remains the only coach in the history of the sport to win a national championship in his first year at two different schools.

Stanford will immediately begin a national search for his replacement.