The awards were voted on by head coaches from across the country and were decided before Springfield captured the national championship last weekend.
This is Sullivan’s second honor in three years after winning it in 2010. Sullivan led the Pride (33-5) to a record-setting 33 victories in leading them to the inaugural NCAA Men’s National Championship. Prior to this year, Springfield had taken home six Molten Division III National Championships. After leaving the Division I heavy EIVA to become independent, they dominated the DIII level earning the overall No. 1 seed in the NCAA Men’s Tournament, which they also hosted. Despite the tough competition, Springfield swept through Baruch, Hunter then Carthage in the championship match never losing a set. In fact, they haven’t lost a match since falling at Juniata on February 24th and have only dropped three total sets in their final 14 matches.
The Pride has been ranked in the top-3 of the AVCA Coaches Top 15 Poll all season, ending the regular season at No. 1. In Blake Arena they loved the home cooking going a perfect 18-0 really using the boisterous home crowd to their advantage. It was also Springfield College's first NCAA Division III team title in any sport, and their first NCAA team title since the 1994 men’s lacrosse won it when they represented Division II before being shifted to Division III in 1995-96.
With the 33-5 showing this season, Sullivan is now 224-155 in his 14 years coaching men’s volleyball at his alma mater. He mentored two 2012 AVCA Men's Division III First-Team All-Americans in Greg Falcone and Angel Perez, and coached the AVCA Newcomer of the Year in Perez. He also placed three on the NCAA Division III Men’s All-Tournament Team, including MVP Mike Pelletier.
Burch became the assistant coach after coaching the 2011 DI-II National Championship Ohio State’s blocking and defense. As a member of the Pride's staff, his primary responsibility was working with offense, preparing scouting reports through scouts and video, reviewing game plans with setters and attackers, and implementing or making changes as necessary during the match. He also had a strong hand with the Special Olympics by facilitating, coaching and officiating a Special Olympics Volleyball Tournament. Sullivan claims Burch works harder than any other assistant coach he’s ever had and has a ton of potential. Under Burch's direction, the Pride finished the year with a .381 hitting percentage, the best in the nation.
The AVCA will formally present both coaches their award at the 2012 jostens Coaches Honors Luncheon in Louisville, Ky. on Thursday, December 12. The luncheon is held in conjunction with the 2012 AVCA Annual Convention.