Volleyball’s Hall of Fame coach

Josh Johnston

Ohio’s winningest high school coach brings knowledge to team

“Mac” stands off the court by the net at the Kent State volleyball team’s practice.

Stopwatch in hand, Mac closely watches junior setter Katie Veatch as she passes the ball. He times each set to make sure the ball moves to the hitters at the right speed.

When Veatch sets the ball too high or too far, Mac doesn’t get angry. Instead, he calmly corrects her mistakes.

“I never really had a coach like Mac,” Veatch said. “He’s not really one to yell that much. I don’t know if he’s really not like that, but we already have a coach like that. (Glen Conley) is a very intense coach, (Mac) balances that out.”

Mac is Bob MacFarland, a volunteer assistant coach for the Kent State volleyball team. He’s in his first year with the Flashes’ coaching staff, but Mac is no stranger to volleyball.

From 1972 to 2002, MacFarland coached Stow-Munroe High School’s volleyball team to 618 victories – making him the winningest high school volleyball coach in Ohio.

MacFarland, an Ohio High School Volleyball Coaches Association Hall of Famer, said he joined the team because Conley asked him to.

“That’s the only reason I could come back is because he asked me,” MacFarland said. “I thought it would be really different to work with the college kids.”

The Games


(13-8, 3-5 MAC)


(16-3, 7-1 MAC)


Where: M.A.C. Center

When: 7 p.m. today 5 p.m. tomorrow

Asking him to help Kent State just made sense, assistant coach Tarah Beyer said. The Flashes’ coaches met MacFarland through the Renaissance Cleveland Volleyball Club, where he serves as director of development.

“We started recruiting a couple of his players from his club team and just got to know him along the way,” Beyer said. “We had an opening on our staff and he’s retired besides coaching the club. So who better to ask than someone who’s won more matches than anybody?”

MacFarland works primarily with Kent State’s setters. Veatch and freshman setter Lauren Simon both agree that he has been one of the best coaches they’ve worked with.

“He has taught me so much with footwork, the speed of the ball, my hands, everything,” she said. “He’s a really good coach because he teaches each person differently with how they learn best. I couldn’t have asked for a better coach, to be honest.”

Simon said his calm attitude adds a different dynamic to the coaching staff.

“He’s definitely the most laid back coach we have,” she said. “If you’re all hyped up and you need someone to cool you down a little bit, you can go talk to him. If you need pumped up, you can go talk to the other ones.”

Former experience as a player and teaching the basics is what MacFarland said was his secret to leading teams to success. In 31 years at Stow-Munroe Falls, MacFarland piloted the Bulldogs to four state titles, 26 first-place league finishes and a .822 winning percentage.

“I think the things that helped our team achieve was that I’ve always thought of myself as being good at instructing fundamentals,” he said. “That’s where the game’s at. If you don’t have good skills, you just can’t play.”

Even with all the coaching wins, titles and a Hall of Fame spot, MacFarland said he is most proud of the scholarships his athletes have received.

“From high school we’ve probably had 50 to 60 kids and maybe double that from club,” he said. “We’ve had so many kids who have gotten scholarships I’ve lost track.”

Contact sports reporter Josh Johnston at [email protected].