The Marshall University volleyball team has been nothing short of spectacular since the arrival of head coach Mitch Jacobs in 2002. The two-time Conference USA Coach of the Year enters his eleventh year with the Marshall program after guiding the Thundering Herd to seven 20-plus win seasons in his first eight campaigns.
During the 2011 campaign, Jacobs notched his 370th career win as a head coach and his 189th win as a head coach for Marshall University.The 2012 season will mark his 19th season as a head coach at the collegiate level.
During his time at Marshall, Jacobs has accumulated 71 Conference USA victories, 20 All-Conference USA selections and over 20 C-USA Player's of the Week. He also has led five players to C-USA Player of the Year awards and four to All-American honors.
In the past two seasons, the Thundering Herd have also had a combined 19 student-athletes make the Conference USA Honor Roll, as well as had five student-athletes get awarded the C-USA Commissioner's Medal for producing a cumulative GPA of 3.75 or more.
During the 2010 season the Thundering Herd helped Jacob's to the 350th win in his 18 year coaching career. The win was a 3-2 victory over HOFSTRA, September 3, 2011. Jacobs helped coach senior standout, Elizabeth Herman to a first team All C-USA selection after averaging a 3.94 kills per set ratio and tallying 429 kills. He also coached Elizabeth Fleming, who earned ESPN Academic All-American honors.
The 2009 Thundering Herd posted a 22-9 (10-6 Conference USA) tally, which included a school record nine-consecutive victories to open the season. The season start of nine-straight wins surpassed the 1980 MU previous record of six wins.
In the 10 seasons as head coach of the Herd, Jacobs has led MU to several individual and team milestones. Since the realignment of Conference USA in 2005, he has coached three-time C-USA Player of the Year Kelly-Anne Billingy, C-USA Setter of the Year Katie Stein, 12 Player's of the Week, 11 Setter's of the Week and has seen 16 players named to an All-C-USA squad.
Jacobs has posted seasons of the three most conference victories and the three longest winning streaks during his time as head coach. MU earned the most league wins in program history (15) in both 2005 and 2007 and tallied 12 conference wins in 2006. The longest win streak for MUVB is 12 matches, which took place during the historic 2005 season. The streak ran from October 21 to November 20, and the team won a stretch of 19-of-20 during that season.
Beyond the C-USA accolades, Jacobs has coached four players to the AVCA All-American Honorable Mention Team along with six more players recognized to the All-Midwest Region Team.
Not only has Jacobs' teams produced on the court, they have performed in the classroom as well. The 2009-10 year was another success in academics for the Herd. The team posted over a 3.5 team GPA and was awarded the AVCA Team Academic Award. He has had three student-athletes named Academic All-Americans in Isabell Anderer (2002, 2003), Christin Bimberg (2004) and most recently Elizabeth Fleming (2008, 2009, 2010).
Jacobs made Marshall volleyball history at the East Carolina Invitational on Sept. 20, 2008, when the Herd defeated Morgan State, 3-0. The victory marked the 139th of his coaching career in Huntington, which surpassed former coach Linda Holmes, for the most wins as a MU volleyball coach. He currently owns a 167-90 record at Marshall along with a 57-23 mark in C-USA matches.
In 2005, the Herd recorded 26 victories, its most wins since 1995 which included the Conference USA regular season and tournament championships and an appearance in the NCAA Tournament. He was awarded the AVCA Midwest Region Coach of the Year for his team's excellence. Prior to joining C-USA, Jacobs guided the squad to two consecutive Mid-American Conference Tournament finals.
In 2007, Jacobs led his team back to the top of the C-USA ranks, posting a dominant 15-1 record in league action and a 23-9 overall record en route the Herd's second C-USA regular season title in three years. Marshall, the No. 1 seed and host of the 2007 C-USA Championship tournament, earned a 3-1 decision in the quarterfinals but dropped a heartbreaking 3-2 semifinals contest to conclude a brilliant season.
Jacobs was awarded Co-Coach of the Year honors for his efforts during the 2007 season. He also reached the 300-win milestone on Sept. 23 with a 3-1 victory over Tulsa. Jacobs now stands at 349 career wins, racking up victories at Florida Tech and Fairfield University prior to joining the Herd. Jacobs' 65.0 win-percentage is also tops in program history for coaches who have coached in 50-or-more matches.
During his first campaign in 2002, the Morton Grove, Ill., native brought about a berth in the Mid-American Conference Tournament, a 20-win season, and a 10-1 home match record. All were firsts in over four years for the Marshall Volleyball program, which had been struggling before Jacobs' arrival.
Before coming to Huntington, Jacobs was the head coach at Fairfield University for three years. While at Fairfield, Jacobs led the Stags to three consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, three top ten Mideast Regional rankings (6th in `99, 7th in `00, and 10th in `01), three straight Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament Championships, and two MAAC Regular Season Championships. His three year coaching record at Fairfield was 75-24, including an astounding 26-1 in conference play and 6-0 in tournament play. He coached six All-MAAC players, including two Players of the Year and one Rookie of the Year. The classroom was also no stranger to Jacobs' players at Fairfield, as his teams' GPA never strayed below the 3.0 mark after each academic year during his tenure.
Prior to his time at Fairfield, Jacobs spent six successful years at Division II Florida Tech in Melbourne, Fla. He became the school's all-time leader in career volleyball coaching wins, while leading the Panthers to the first winning season in the school's history. In fact, Florida Tech had five winning seasons during his six years in Melbourne. His teams were consistently ranked in the top six in the South Region, and one of his teams (1996) gained the school's first ever Top 25 ranking for the volleyball program. Like his teams at Fairfield, his Panthers also excelled on the academic side. The volleyball team finished 11 of 12 semesters with the highest GPA among all athletic programs at Florida Tech.
In 15 of 18 years as a head coach, Jacobs has posted a winning record. Preceding Florida Tech, Jacobs served as an assistant at the University of South Florida in Tampa, Fla., from 1991-93.
Jacobs also brings considerable club experience to Marshall and the Tri-State community. While at Fairfield, he was the Director of Coaching Development and Technical Training and the Director of the Travel Program with the Connecticut Juniors Volleyball Club in Woodbridge, Conn. At Florida Tech, he developed the Harbour City Juniors Volleyball Club Team, where he built a highly successful juniors program. In Tampa, he received his first head coaching experience with the Tampa Bay Juniors Volleyball Club.
Internationally, Jacobs was an assistant coach for the USA Maccabiah Team in 2001, and in the summer of 2004 he was selected to coach one of two teams from the United States to play in the under-20 Sibillini Tournament in Italy. Jacobs was the head coach of Team Third Degree and guided the squad to the bronze medal. In the summer of 2009, he served as an assistant coach for the USA/BIP Development Team. The squad went a perfect 8-0 in tournament play and captured its first ever Global Challenge Championship in Pula, Croatia.
Jacobs graduated with a degree in Political Science from the University of Iowa in 1991. While at Iowa, he played for the men's club volleyball team.