Geoff Carlston

Geoff Carlston - Women's Volleyball - Ohio State Buckeyes

position Head Coach

Alma Mater Minnesota, 1993


With the 2019 season in the books, Geoff Carlston wrapped up his 12th year as Ohio State’s head coach. He took the reins of the women’s volleyball program on Feb. 5, 2008 and was the fifth head coach of the Buckeyes in the 47-year history of the program.

Carlston concluded the 2018 campaign with a career winning percentage of .656 in 16 years as a Division-I head coach, racking up 364 victories compared to just 174 defeats. His squads have averaged over 23 wins per season and he owns 12 years of 20 or more victories. Carlston started his head coaching career at Division-II Concordia University, St. Paul in Minnesota, where he accumulated 49 victories in three seasons.

The native Minnesotan has made his mark in the state of Ohio, guiding the Bobcats of Ohio University and the Buckeyes to a combined 12 NCAA Tournament appearances. Carlston has directed Ohio State to the NCAA `Sweet 16′ five times since 2010, one of just 11 schools in the country to accomplish that feat. The Buckeyes rattled off three consecutive trips to the NCAA Regionals from 2014-16.

Before arriving in Columbus, Carlston started his NCAA Tournament success with five straight Mid-American Conference championships to propel Ohio into the Big Dance, including his first Sweet 16 showing in 2005. Carlston’s squads are a combined 9-3 all-time in the NCAA First Round and 7-0 at Ohio State. He led the Bobcats to a conference crown in each of his five campaigns in Athens.

Carlston’s pupils have often been recognized among the nation’s elite, totaling 18 All-American accolades overall and at least one over a seven year span. Ashley Wenz was an All-America honorable mention in 2017 while Taylor Hughes and Taylor Sandbothe both picked up All-America distinction in 2016, marking the third straight All-America campaign for Sandbothe. Elizabeth Campbell joined Sandbothe as repeat All-Americans in 2015, each earning recognition for the second year in a row. Sandbothe was voted to the First Team.

For the first time in school history, three Buckeyes — Campbell, Sandbothe and Taylor Sherwin – earned AVCA All-America honors (honorable mention) in 2014. Ohio State’s Katie Dull (2009), Emily Danks (2011) and Kaitlyn Leary (2013) also earned All-America honorable mention while Mari Hole was chosen in back-to-back seasons as an ’11 honorable mention and Third Team member in 2012. Five Bobcats picked up All-American status under the tutelage of Carlston. On the conference level, Carlston has molded 16 All-Big Ten, 25 All-MAC and eight All-NSIC performers since 2000.

Academic success has followed Carlston throughout his career as well. Student-athletes receiving academic all-conference laurels has been a common occurrence under Carlston, racking up a total of 99 such awards: 64 Academic All-Big Ten, 25 Academic All-MAC, 10 Academic All-NSIC. His program was honored by the NCAA in May 2014 with the Public Recognition Award, given to teams scoring in the top-10 percent nationally in each sport based on their most recent multi-year Academic Progress Rates (APR).

Following a run to the Sweet 16 in 2014, Carlston’s Buckeyes added Academic prowess to place themselves in rare company. Just three schools nationally could boast both advancement into the NCAA Sweet 16 and perfect multi-year APR scores of 1000 three or more times each between 2010-14.

During the summer of 2011, Carlston served as head coach of one of the USA A-2 squads that played at the USA Volleyball Open National Championships Women’s Open, finishing second.

Carlston came to Ohio State after spending five years as head coach at Ohio University, building a powerhouse in the Mid-American Conference. His squads reached the NCAA Tournament every season and won five straight conference crowns with an overall record of 144-22 during Carlston’s time in Athens. The Bobcats won 78 of 80 MAC matches and went 14-1 in the conference tournament with four tourney titles. Four Bobcats were named MAC Player of the Year and a pair were tabbed MAC Freshman of the Year. He was named the MAC Coach of the Year four times and was twice named the Mideast Region Coach of the Year.

Prior to Ohio, Carlston posted a 49-42 record in three seasons at the helm of the Concordia University, St. Paul (Minn.) program. He took the Golden Bears from an 0-18 mark in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference the season before his arrival to a serious run at the league title in 2002. CUSP finished the 2002 campaign with a 24-9 record – its best in Division II competition – and earned its first national ranking during the season. Carlson recruited three consecutive NSIC Freshman of the Year selections to play for the Golden Bears.

In the summer of 2002, Carlston served as coach of a Division II all-star team that played in a tournament in Holland. Competing against the top Dutch college and professional league teams, the group won gold and bronze medals. Before Concordia, Carlston served two seasons as a student assistant coach at Minnesota while completing a master’s degree in social work.

Carlston began his coaching career in 1994 as head coach at Hopkins High School. In his two-year tenure, his teams went 41-17 and captured the Classic Lake Conference title both seasons.

He left the high school ranks for two years of service in Belize as a Peace Corps volunteer but stayed close to the sport, serving as head coach of the Belize women’s national team and as an assistant for the men’s national team. He helped develop a year-round training program and the team finished fourth at the 1997 Central America championship, earning the country’s first international victories.

Upon his return to the United States, Carlston became head coach of the 17’s team of the Minnesota One Junior Olympics club, which competed in the 17 Open Division at USA Nationals three consecutive years under his direction.

In June 1993, Carlston earned his undergraduate degree in speech communication from the University of Minnesota, where he played on the club team for the Gophers. The Plymouth, Minn., native is married to the former Sara Tibesar of St. Paul. The couple has three children and resides in Columbus.

Carlston’s Career Record by Season

  Overall   Conference (1)  
YearSchoolWinsLossesPct.WinsLossesPct. Finish
Concordia St. Paul Totals4942.5382925.537
  Overall  Conference (2)   NCAA Championship   
YearSchoolWinsLossesPct.WinsLossesPct. Finish1st Rd.2nd Rd.Reg.Nat.
2003Ohio University285.848151.9371st0-1---
2004Ohio University293.9061601.0001st1-00-1--
2005Ohio University333.9171601.0001st1-01-00-1-
2006Ohio University285.8481601.0001st0-1---
2007Ohio University266.813151.9381st0-1---
Ohio University Totals14422.867782.9752-31-10-1-
  Overall  Conference (3)   NCAA Championship   
YearSchoolWinsLossesPct.WinsLossesPct. Finish1st Rd.2nd Rd.Reg.Nat.
2008Ohio State1220.375317.15010th----
2009Ohio State2810.714128.600t-4th1-00-1--
2010Ohio State2412.6671010.5006th1-01-00-1-
2011Ohio State2115.583911.4507th1-01-00-1-
2012Ohio State2311.676137.6404th1-00-1--
2013Ohio State1814.563614.30010th----
2014Ohio State2312.657128.600t-5th1-01-00-1-
2015Ohio State2510.714128.6006th1-01-00-1-
2016Ohio State2213.6291010.500t-7th1-01-00-1-
2017Ohio State1516.484812.4009th----
2018Ohio State1220.375317.15013th----
Ohio State University Totals220153.59098122.4457-05-20-5-
19-Year Career Totals  NCAA Career Record  

(1) Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference
(2) Mid-American Conference
(3) Big Ten Conference