The ILH started girls volleyball in 1930, but the sport initially lasted only two years. In May 1961, the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa hosted an invitational high school volleyball tournament for both girls and boys teams, including Punahou.
The successful tournament led the ILH to adopt volleyball as a league sport in the fall of 1961, and included teams from Farrington, Kaimuki, Kamehameha, Maryknoll, Mid-Pacific Institute, Roosevelt High School, St. Andrew’s Priory, and Punahou, whose team was first coached by Joan Pratt ’47.
Punahou fielded its first official varsity boys volleyball team in the Fall of 1961 and competed in the old ILH against such volleyball powers as Farrington, Kaimuki and Kamehameha. There were 10 teams in the league and it took Punahou four years before it won in 1965.
The HHSAA began hosting the state volleyball tournament in 1969.
With volleyball becoming an Olympic sport in 1964, the state of Hawai‘i was not far behind in recognizing volleyball’s stature as it secured boys and girls state championships in 1969. Hilo High School and Farrington High School were successful, as was Roosevelt High School in the late ’70s. Punahou has been acknowledged as a powerhouse in boys volleyball since 1969. The Buff ’n Blue garnered 19 of the first 26 state championships and has sent many players to Division I college volleyball programs, USA National team, professional volleyball and the pro beach tour.