For the third consecutive year, a University of Hawai’i men’s volleyball player was named the Big West’s Player of the Year after setter Jakob Thelle received the honor this season. In addition, head coach Charlie Wade was named Co-Coach of the Year along with UC Irvine’s David Kniffin.
Thelle, a junior from Tonsberg, Norway, follows in the footsteps of Rado Parapunov, who received the award in 2020 and ’21. Over the weekend, the setter directed the Rainbow Warriors (24-5) to the Big West Championship title and earned Most Valuable Player honors in the process. In his second year as Hawai’i’s starting setter, Thelle will lead UH to its second NCAA Championship tournament appearance after winning the national title last season.
Long Beach State’s Alex Nikolov was named Freshman of the Year.
For Wade, the honor marks his first conference coach of the year award in 13 seasons as head coach. He has guided Hawai’i to one NCAA title (2021), two Big West championships (2019 and ’22), one Big West regular season title (2021), and five NCAA Tournament appearances (2015, ’17, ’19, ’21, and ’22).
Thelle, who last week earned all-Big West first team honors, ranks 11th nationally in assists per set (9.97) and sixth in aces per set (0.55). He quarterbacks the nation’s fifth-most productive offensive attack (.340) while also helping UH rank No. 2 nationally in aces per set (1.97).
Big West Award Winners
Player of the Year – Jakob Thelle, Hawai’i
Freshman of the Year – Alex Nikolov, Long Beach State
Co-Coach of the Year – Charlie Wade, Hawai’i & David Kniffin, UC Irvine