David Hunt Takes Over as Pepperdine Men’s Volleyball Coach

David Hunt

David Hunt had a few opportunities to step away from Pepperdine’s men’s volleyball program and lead his own — but he didn’t.

The coach, named to the American Volleyball Coaches Association Thirty Under 30 in 2010, 2016 and 2017, stayed with the Waves to learn and grow as much as possible under legendary coach Marv Dunphy. Now, Hunt, 31, has succeeded the retired Dunphy as the new head coach of Pepperdine, men’s volleyball. 

“The people at Pepperdine kept me here,” Hunt said. “It is the environment, not just the men’s volleyball community, but the campus community. It is a unique place. As I go internationally or talk to the athletes with other programs, that becomes apparent. My dad always told me, ‘If you have it good, don’t be in a rush to get out of there.’” 

Hunt, part of the Pepperdine’s volleyball program for a decade, said following his mentor, Dunphy, as the Waves’ head coach was a mixed bag of emotions — “an ounce of sadness and excitement.” The first-time head coach said he considers Dunphy, his boss of 10 years, one of his best friends. 

“I always told him I would be his assistant coach for the next 30 years,” Hunt said. “He gave me the autonomy to do things that I thought were right, develop my own voice; he gave me the freedom to go work with the USA team and go to the Olympics. I enjoyed working for him.” 

Hunt was named head coach on July 10, three weeks after Dunphy announced he was ending his 40-year coaching career. Hunt said since being named men’s volleyball’s top Wave, he hasn’t stopped revving along. He’s hit the recruiting trail and last week was coaching at the USA Volleyball High Performance Championships in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. 

Dunphy said he is happy for the men’s volleyball players and program and Pepperdine University. 

“David knows how to teach the sport and produce young men of character,” the Hall of Famer said. 

Hunt said he wants to continue to lead Pepperdine down the successful path Dunphy laid the bricks for. Dunphy led the Waves to five NCAA championships and 612 wins. A litany of Pepperdine players reached All-American status under Dunphy’s tutelage. 

Hunt said Dunphy taught him everything he knows about volleyball and how to develop a voice on the court.

“I have had the opportunity to do that,” Hunt said. “I think just doing things the way I do them will be enough. I would be crazy to change too much in terms of the Xs and Os.” 

Hunt, a native of Glendale, played volleyball at Pierce College in Woodland Hills before transferring to UCLA as a student. While in college, he worked as an assistant coach at Harvard-Westlake High School with former Pepperdine assistant coach Adam Black. Hunt also coached at the Marv Dunphy Volleyball Camp and had previously worked at Gold Medal Squared coaching clinics. Hunt had established a good relationship with Dunphy before the coach asked him if he would become a student manager. 

“I’d just sit in his office and run video for him and listen to any nugget of information he would give me,” Hunt recalled. 

Beginning in 2007, his senior year at UCLA, Hunt was on the Waves’ coaching staff in roles such as video coordinator and volunteer assistant. He was promoted to assistant coach in 2010, and associate head coach in 2014.

Pepperdine has had a 160-104 record in the decade Hunt has been with the team. The Waves have finished in the top 10 of the AVCA rankings nine times — and six times in the top five in those years. 

Pepperdine’s legendary coach isn’t the only volleyball icon Hunt has gleaned knowledge from. Another is gold medal winner Karch Kiraly, head coach of the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team, whom Hunt has coached under since 2014. 

Hunt worked as a consultant coach during the U.S.’s gold medal run in the FIVB World Championships three years ago. Pepperdine’s new coach was the group’s head coach at the NORCECA World Championship Qualification Tournament. Hunt also coached the team at the Pan American Cup in 2015.

Kiraly said Hunt did stellar work for America’s women’s team. “What a great hire. We’re super pumped for the Pepperdine men’s program and for David; good luck to all,” he said. 

Hunt’s coaching resume includes working as an assistant coach for the U.S. men’s junior national volleyball team in 2011 at the FIVB World Championships and winning a bronze medal as an assistant coach for the U.S. boys’ youth national squad at the NORCECA Boys’ Youth Continental Championships in 2012. Hunt served as an assistant coach for the Japanese men’s national team for a few months in 2013-14.

Pepperdine finished with a 10-12 record last season. Hunt said he hasn’t set goals yet for the upcoming season. 

“Right now, it’s just trying to build and develop the relationships we have with the guys,” he said. “There are going to be a lot of things we will have to figure out alongthe way.” 

Hunt said he is confident in his ability to lead the Waves.

“I got to work with the greatest two volleyball coaches,” he said. “I’ve had the opportunity to become a world-class coach because of Pepperdine. 

“Before, I made suggestions,” Hunt said, “now, I make decisions. That is probably the biggest change.”