Head Coach Jay Van Vark
Nicholls Director of Athletics Matt Roan announced on Feb. 8, 2018, that Jay Van Vark has been selected as Nicholls State University's 10th Head Volleyball Coach, pending approval from the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors.
"Coach Van Vark's resume speaks for itself, and it became obvious through the interview process and when we had him on campus that he was the right person at the right time for our volleyball program," Roan said. "He articulated in great detail his plan to build a championship-contending program. He has recruited at the highest level, developed talent at each stop in his career, and his knowledge of the game is second to none. We are so excited to get him here, watch him build his staff and make an instant positive impact on our student-athletes and the community."
Van Vark takes over the helm in Thibodaux after successful stints as an assistant at four Division I stops, including Grand Canyon University, The Ohio State University, San Diego State University and UC-Santa Barbara, in addition to a wealth of experience with USA Volleyball.
"First and foremost I'd like to thank [Nicholls President] Jay Clune, Athletic Director Matt Roan and his entire senior team for giving me this opportunity here at Nicholls," Van Vark said. "I'm thrilled about joining this program and Colonel Country. The Southland Conference has a proud history, and we are aiming to rise and compete at the top of the conference."
Van Vark was instrumental in the Buckeyes' unexpected Sweet 16 appearance in 2014 when Ohio State was ranked 80th in the country during the preseason. Those results were mirrored at San Diego State in 2012 when the Aztecs recorded their first-ever Mountain West Championship and undefeated season at home.
During his final years in college at Iowa State, he played semi-pro indoor with the ACCO Sportswear team for two seasons, followed by three campaigns of outdoor for East Beach as an AAA-rated beach and grass player. He has also played in five indoor USVBA Open National Championships. In the late 80s, he was a college referee and at one point was the youngest official for the Big 8 (now the Big 12).
Van Vark moved to San Diego after college, heading the Rancho Bernardo High School boys' and girls' volleyball programs for 10 seasons. He led the Bronco girls to their only CIF volleyball title in 1994.
In addition to coaching, Van Vark is the co-founder of a successful software firm called Envision Sports Inc., a statistical and technology enhancement high-tech firm focusing on volleyball. He is also the author of one of the most successful volleyball statistics packages, iVolleyStats.
Van Vark earned a bachelor's degree in computer science from ISU in 1987. The Cedar Falls, Iowa, native has two children, Audrey and Jared. Audrey Van Vark is a Missouri graduate now settled in San Diego, and Jared Van Vark is a junior on Colorado State's baseball team.
USA Volleyball Experience
Head Team Coach, USA Collegiate National Team, 2013 Dallas, 2014 Minneapolis, 2015 New Orleans, 2017 Minneapolis
2013-18, Tech Coordinator, Women's National Team Tryout
2017 Junior National Team Coach, World Championships – Seventh-place finish
What They're Saying
"Jay's toolbox is loaded with just about every coaching skill you can think of. He is a gifted teacher in the gym, sees the game well, writes effective game plans, has elite-level mastery over the array of electronic devices so necessary for today's game, possesses terrific touch as a recruiter, and understands how important it is to work within the goal structure laid out by the athletic administrators. He gets it! I've been one of his mentors throughout his preparation to be a head coach, and I think he is one of the best I have had the privilege to work with. You are going to be very happy that Jay is going to be your volleyball coach."
– Mike Hebert, AVCA Hall of Fame, Former Minnesota Volleyball Coach (1996-2011)
"Congratulations to Nicholls State University. Jay Van Vark is a passionate and dedicated coach as well as one of the most knowledgeable and experienced coaches in our sport. His extensive involvement with USA Volleyball coupled with his collegiate background will certainly inspire the Colonels program to strive for unique achievements. Jay is deeply committed to quality, growth and progress. It will be exciting to see the direction in which Nicholls volleyball will grow under Jay's vision and leadership."
- Laurie Corbelli, Former Texas A&M Head Volleyball Coach (1993-2017)