For Mark Birtwistle and Eastern University volleyball, continuity breeds success

Since 1990, his teams have made 21 NCAA tournaments and garnered more than 800 wins
Mark Birtwistle.
Mark Birtwistle. Photo credit Eastern University Athletics

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Mark Birtwistle has been the head women’s volleyball coach at Division III Eastern University since 1990.

He has enjoyed extraordinary success, leading the Lions to more than 800 wins and 21 NCAA Tournaments, reaching the Final Four in 2011.

"Our processes, our systems, our philosophies haven't changed. The majority of my coaching staff has been former players, so they also have understood me, Eastern Volleyball, and what we're about, so they were easily transferred to the next group,” Birtwistle said.

“I think that has a lot to do with it me being here for so long, and my staff — mostly being our former players — just understood what the expectations were. When our kids come into the program, they have good people to look to and understand that this is how we do things.”

Yet for Birtwistle, winning isn’t the sole focus.

“To see relationships  and families being built, and those kids coming back to our alumni [events], or coming back to just speak with my current team. Those things are invaluable to me,” he said.

“Those are the things that I love to talk about, the values that we have being grateful and being selfless as you're trying to pursue winning. Those things are super, super important to me.”

You can listen to Mark Birtwistle talk about how he was introduced to the sport of volleyball by checking out the new episode of the podcast “1-on-1 with Matt Leon.” Listen below and subscribe on the Audacy app or wherever you get your podcasts.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Eastern University Athletics