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Jack Henn, SDSU National Champion Volleyball Coach, Dies At 79

Former San Diego State men's volleyball head coach Jack Henn is shown in this undated photo.
San Diego State University Athletics
Former San Diego State men's volleyball head coach Jack Henn is shown in this undated photo.

Former San Diego State men's volleyball coach Jack Henn has died after a battle with cancer at the age of 79, the university announced Tuesday.

He died Sunday night.

Henn, who played collegiately for the Aztecs in the early 1960s, later coached the program in two stints, highlighted by the university's lone NCAA Division I championship in 1973.


"Jack Henn made a difference in so many people's lives during his tenure at San Diego State," Aztec women's volleyball coach Brent Hilliard said. "I hope many will appreciate everything he did for the sport.

"It is amazing to reflect on some of his greatest achievements as a player, coach, leader and perhaps best of all, a mentor to so many young people. My heart goes out to his family, friends and all who had the opportunity to be coached by him."

Born in Evansville, Indiana, Henn moved with his family to California as a youth, eventually graduating from San Diego High School before earning a bachelor's degree in physical education from San Diego State.

Following his selection as an alternate for the United States Olympic team in 1964, Henn competed as a setter-hitter for the American squad at the 1968 Summer Games in Mexico City, where the U.S. was the lone team to defeat the Soviet Union, which later won the gold medal.

In 1966, Henn was named coach at San Diego State, the same year the men's volleyball program was elevated to varsity status after competing at the club level.


After finishing as NCAA runner-up to UCLA in 1972, Henn directed SDSU to the national title the following year. SDSU knocked off Long Beach State in four sets at the San Diego Sports Arena in front of 8,412 fans.

Among the players Henn coached on that team were All-Americans Chris Marlowe and Duncan McFarland, who were later enshrined into the Aztec Athletics Hall of Fame.

After leaving SDSU in 1974, Henn moved with his family to India, where he taught physical education at the high school level from 1976-79.

Henn rejoined the Aztec men's volleyball team as a volunteer coach in 1985 and served as co-coach in 1987 and 1988, before taking over the sole reins once again by 1991. He remained with the program until 2000 when the sport was eliminated due to budget concerns.