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Program Overview

Tommie Volleyball

  • 2012 NCAA champions (won last 35 matches in 40-1 finish)
  • 3 NCAA trips to eight-team national tournament in 2010s decade
  • 20 NCAA playoff appearances (14 of last 15 seasons)
  • 24 MIAC championships (17 regular-season)
  • 21 of last 22 seasons with 20-plus wins (six with 30 or more)
  • 19 All-America honors in the last 17 years
  • 8 CoSIDA Academic All-America honors 
  • 9 MIAC Player of the Year honors in last 17 years
  • 6 of the last 18 MIAC Coach of the Year honors
  • 3 volleyball alums now head coaches at rival MIAC schools
  • Top-3 MIAC finishes in 18 of the last 19 seasons
  • Coach Thanh Pham has 453 match wins in 17 seasons (27 per season)
  • Pham's .791 win percentage here is fourth best among active D-III coaches


Under 18th-year coach Thanh Pham (pronounced TANG FAMM), St. Thomas continues to add to its rich volleyball tradition.

The best of many highlights thus far came in 2012 when Pham guided St. Thomas to its first national championship. A 3-2, comeback victory over Calvin (Mich.) let the Tommies became the first MIAC institution to capture the national volleyball crown. Adding to the task, a record 3,517 fans in Holland, Mich., were almost all supporting local favorite Calvin. St. Thomas became just the fifth NCAA team at any level to rally from a 2-0 games deficit to claim the championship in the final match.

St. Thomas squads were ranked in the AVCA Top-25 for 120 of the 121 consecutive polls from 2005 to 2015. In the last 18 seasons alone, St. Thomas teams have compiled a 513-152 record. That includes Pham's 453-120 record since 2003.

The Tommies won 13 of a possible 16 MIAC championships from 2007 to 2014 – all eight regular season and five MIAC playoff titles, with a regular-season conference record of 83-5. In all, their 17 conference titles are twice as many won by the next program. St. Thomas has finished first, second or third in the MIAC 18 of the last 19 seasons.

UST has had 19 All-Americas in the last 17 years and the National Freshman of the year in 2011. Three of Pham's former players are now head coaches in the conference – All-Americans Jane Becker (neé Gibbs) at Augsburg, Rachelle Sherden (neé Dosch) at Gustavus, and Emily Foster at St. Olaf.

Early in the program’s history under Coach Dave Orren, St. Thomas advanced to the NCAA tournament in six consecutive seasons (1987-92).

Under Pham, UST was back in the NCAA postseason each season from 2007 to 2014 and again in each of the last four seasons. The Tommies reached the regional finals in 1990, 1991 and 1992, and then again in 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013. The 2010-2012 squads won their region title matches to qualify for the eight-team nationals.

The 2010 team advanced to the national finals for first time in school history, finished with 31-7 record, and was ranked seventh in the final Division III rankings. St. Thomas returned to nationals in 2011 before bowing out in the national quarterfinals and finished 32-5 on the season.

Nine times in the last decade, UST has received a team academic award from the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) for having a team grade-point average above 3.30 for a school year. Kelly Foley was voted a CoSIDA Academic All-America in 2013 and 2014, and Jill Greenfield was also voted a CoSIDA Academic All-America in 2014. Kia Johnson, a 2014 graduate, won a prestigious Fulbright scholarship. All-America Whitney Lloyd received an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship after concluding her career in 2017.

The Tommies practice and play home matches in the 1,500-seat Schoenecker Arena in the state-of-the-art Anderson Athletic and Recreation Complex on campus. The Toms travel to three tournaments a year, with recent trips to San Antonio, Seattle, Atlanta, Boston and Wisconsin. They have 15 varsity players, and another 12-15 players that compete at the junior-varsity level.