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Volleyball Hall of Fame enshrines six in landmark event

The six inductees

Holyoke, USA, October 22, 2010 – The Volleyball Hall of Fame enshrined its 100th individual as part of its 25th induction class on Friday in the birthplace of the sport, Holyoke, Massachusetts in the US.

The Class of 2010 hail from five countries representing the elite players and coaches of both Volleyball and Beach Volleyball. Individuals enshrined were the beach team of Shelda Bede and Adriana Behar of Brazil, Volleyball female coach Gabriella Kotsis of Hungary, Volleyball female player Gabriela Perez del Solar of Peru, Volleyball male player Aleksandr Savin of Russia and the late Volleyball coach Hubert Wagner of Poland.

FIVB President Jizhong Wei, who was among a special list of dignitaries attending the event, remarked on the significance of the Volleyball Hall of Fame and the sport’s birthplace being in Holyoke, Mass.

“Many people told me American people are very creative,” Wei said. “The inventor of Volleyball was one, and so were the creators of the Volleyball Hall of Fame. We have work to do to promote Holyoke, the birthplace of Volleyball. Today, I congratulate the inductees for all their success and encourage you to come back here in future years.”

A short biographical sketch on each inductee can be found below with an excerpt from their acceptance speech. Further, the Volleyball Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony can be viewed online at www.livestream.com/vizbang as the event was shown live to a worldwide audience for the first time.

“We had six international inductees with a high caliber of success in their careers enshrined tonight,” Volleyball Hall of Fame President David Casey said. “All were superstars in their own right and we here in Holyoke feel special and honored to have them here tonight as new inductees into the Volleyball Hall of Fame.”

"I thought it was marvelous for the Volleyball Hall of Fame to have FIVB President Wei join us tonight,” Casey said. “Hopefully this builds an even closer relationship with the FIVB to the Volleyball Hall of Fame and that more FIVB executives can come to future enshrinement celebrations here in Holyoke to experience the joy that comes with adding new members to the Hall of Fame.”

Other dignitaries attending the enshrinement ceremony included past inductees Doug Beal and Michael O’Hara from the Class of 1989, Marv Dunphy from the Class of 1994, Al Monaco from the Class of 1997 and Randy Stoklos from the Class of 2008.

Volleyball Hall of Fame Class of 2010

Shelda Bede and Adriana Behar (BRAZIL) - FEMALE BEACH VOLLEYBALL
Shelda Bede and Adriana Behar showed remarkable resilience on the beach as they played in more international beach events together than any other women's team since the start of the FIVB circuit in 1992. They won a total of 31 FIVB international beach volleyball tournaments, in addition to winning silver medals at both the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney and the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. The duo won the SWATCH/FIVB World Tour season points title six times, including a remarkable five-year run from 1997 to 2001 followed by their final title in 2004. Shelda and Adriana won four medals at the SWATCH FIVB World Championship during their careers, including gold medals in 1999 and 2001, silver in 2003 and a bronze in 1997.

Both Shelda and Adriana compared the values of sport: determination, strength, partnership and respect - with the qualities of strong Brazilian population.

“Shelda and I were partners in everything,” Adriana said. “And equally in love with our dreams and our country. Shelda is my best friend. 12 years of challenges overcome, of love, of friendship and respect for our differences.”

Gabriella Kotsis was a pioneering female Volleyball coach in her home country of Hungary. She became the very first female coach to lead Volleyball teams to multiple Olympic Games, and is the only female to lead teams to three Olympics. Kotsis coached Hungary at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal and the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow. Hungary missed out on achieving a medal with consecutive fourth-place finishes at the 1976 and 1980 Olympic Games with Kotsis at the helm of the team. To this day, only one other female has led two different teams to the Olympic Games, that being 2002 Volleyball Hall of Fame inductee Lang Ping who guided her home country China to the 1996 Olympic Games and the United States to the 2008 Olympic Games in her hometown of Beijing.

“Coaches have to keep learning,” Kotsis said. “I took techniques from track and basketball and used them in volleyball to teach my athletes to get better. I worked with a small group of players and used players from other sports early on. Volleyball kept me going during difficult times in my life.”

Gabriela Perez del Solar (PERU) - FEMALE VOLLEYBALL PLAYER
Gabriela Perez del Solar, who earned her first international CAP at the age of 17, competed in two Olympic Games during her career. She paced Peru to a fourth-place finish at the 1984 Olympic Games played in Los Angeles. Four years later, she led Peru to the silver medal at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul. During the 1988 Olympic Games, Perez del Solar was recognized with the Best Receiver award as a multi-talented middle blocker. She and Peruvian teammates earned the bronze medal at the 1986 FIVB World Championship in which she was chosen as the Best Blocker. Perez del Solar played in three FIVB World Cups as she earned Best Blocker in 1985 at the age of 17 and again in 1991. She competed in five South American Championships and won four gold medals in the event. Perez del Solar retired from competition after helping her team win the 1993 South American Championship.

“I am honored as a woman, as a Peruvian, as a former athlete to be here today,” Perez del Solar said. “Success comes from sacrifice, commitment and teamwork. I’m sure little by little my teammates from Peru will join me in the Volleyball Hall of Fame. Induction into the Hall of Fame is the ultimate award in sport. I will bring my daughters here in the future to show them that mommy is in a museum.”

Aleksandr Savin played a huge role on the Soviet Union Teams that dominated international volleyball from 1975 to 1982. He helped the Soviet Union to two Olympic Games appearances during his career. Savin was 21-years-old when he helped USSR reached the gold-medal match at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal before losing to Poland in a dramatic five-set match. Savin was the young participant for the Soviet Union during the 1976 Olympic Games. Four years later, Savin and USSR would not be denied as it won the gold medal on home soil at the 1980 Olympic Games with a four-set victory over Bulgaria. USSR dropped only two sets during the 1980 Olympic Games. Savin led the Soviet Union National Team to the gold medal at the 1977 FIVB World Cup and the 1978 FIVB World Championship as it built its domination toward the 1980 Olympic Games. Savin went on to win gold medals with the Soviet Team at the 1981 FIVB World Cup, the 1982 FIVB World Championship and the 1986 Goodwill Games. He won silver medals with the Soviet team at the 1985 FIVB World Cup and the 1986 FIVB World Championship.

“I am so glad to have seen the Hall of Fame this one time,” Savin said. “I thank the creators of the Volleyball Hall of Fame. It is very important for children to have a place to see and learn about their heroes.”

The late Hubert Wagner was a successful volleyball player for Poland and later transitioned to become its most revered coach. He was a member of Poland's 1968 Olympic Team which finished fifth in Mexico City. Wagner played a total of 194 matches for Poland between 1963 and 1971. Two years after retiring as a player, he accepted the head coach position for Poland's Men's National Team from 1973-1976. Wagner immediately pushed Poland to the top with its first-ever FIVB World Championship title in 1974, followed by the gold medal at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal. He held a short tenure from 1978-79 as Poland's Women's National Team head coach before taking on his second stint with the Men's National Team from 1983-85. During his second tenure coaching Poland's Men's Team, Wagner led his team to a silver medal at the 1983 European Championship. Aside from a third term as coach of the men's team from 1996 to 1998, he served as Secretary General of the Polish Volleyball Association. Sadly, Wagner died in an automobile accident in 2002 at the age of 61.

Gregorz Wagner, son of Hubert Wagner, accepted the Volleyball Hall of Fame award on behalf of his father. “I give credit to my father for the popularity of volleyball in Poland.”

The Volleyball Hall of Fame, incorporated in 1978, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to honoring the great men and women of the sport, and the promotion of volleyball worldwide. The Hall's Web site can be found at www.VolleyHall.org).

Shelda Bede and Adriana Behar (Brazil); Gabriella Kotsis (Hungary); Gabriela Perez del Solar (Peru); Alexsandr Savin (Russia); Hubert Wagner (Poland)
Mintonette Medallion of Merit: Richard B. Lajoie
William G. Morgan Award: Mountain View Landscapes and Lawncare, Inc./Stephen Corrigan

Ana Beatriz Moser (Brazil); Ivan Bugajenkov (Russia/Latvia); Nikolai Karpol (Russia); Paul Libaud (France); Holly McPeak (USA); Siegfried Schneider (Germany)
Mintonette Medallion of Merit: Francis G. Hamel (Spalding)

Sinan Erdem (Turkey); Andrea Giani (Italy); Masae Kasai (Japan); Yuri Poyarkov (Ukraine); Vladimir Savvine (Russia); Randy Stoklos (USA)
William G. Morgan Award: City of Holyoke

Bob Ctvrtlik (USA); Andrea Gardini (Italy); Carlos Nuzman (Brazil); Kerri Pottharst (Australia); Yuan Weimin (China); Dimitar Zlatanov (Bulgaria)
William G. Morgan Award: The Dowd Group
Mintonette Medallion of Merit: William "Ron" Collamore

Bernie Holtzman (USA); Endre Holvay (Hungary); Jackie Silva (Brazil); Edward Skorek (Poland); Nina Smoleeva (Russia); Shigeo Yamada (Japan)
Court of Honor Award: The Japan Volleyball Association (JVA)

Bernard Rajzman (Brazil); Eugenio George (Cuba); Stanislaw Gosciniak (Poland); Cecilia Tait (Peru); Konstantin Reva (Russia); Ron Lang (USA)
William G. Morgan Award: Holyoke Medical Center

Karolyn Kirby (USA); Mireya Luis (Cuba); Josef Musil (Czech Republic); Seiji Oko (Japan)
William G. Morgan Award: Holyoke Gas & Electric

Givi Akhvlediani (Russia); Jungo Morita (Japan); Sinjin Smith (USA); Julio Velasco (Italy)
William G. Morgan Award: PeoplesBank
Mintonette Medallion of Merit: Alex Stetynski

Lang Ping (China); Tomasz Wojtowicz (Poland); Vyacheslav Platonov (Russia)
Court of Honor: 1990-1998 Italian Men's National Team
William G. Morgan Award: Volleyball Magazine
Mintonette Medallion of Merit: Kirk Kilgour

Karch Kiraly (USA); Regla Torres (Cuba); Jean Gaertner (USA)
Mintonette Medallion of Merit: Karen Keirstead

Hirofumi Daimatsu (Japan); Inna Ryskal (Russia); Takako Shirai (Japan); Yuri Tchesnokov (Russia); Harold Wendt (USA)

Wilbur H. Peck (USA); James G. Wortham (USA)
Court of Honor: 1988 U.S. Men's Olympic Team
William G. Morgan Award: Volleyball Festival, Inc.
Mintonette Medallion of Merit: Corporators of the Volleyball Hall of Fame

William Baird (USA); Craig Buck (USA); Dusty Dvorak (USA); Yasutaka Matsudaira (Japan); Steve Timmons (Japan); Paula Weishoff (Japan)

Andy Banachowski (USA); Albert Monaco Jr. (USA); Pedro "Pete" Velasco (USA)
Court of Honor: United States Armed Forces
Mintonette Medallion of Merit: Richard Caplan

Patricia Bright (USA); Donald Shondell (USA)
Court of Honor: Springfield College
Mintonette Medallion of Merit: Sally Kus

Debbie Green (USA); Robert L. Lindsay (USA); C.L. "Bobb" Miller (USA); Arie Selinger (USA) Court of Honor: Special Olympics International
William G. Morgan Award: Spalding Sports Worldwide

Patty Dowdell (USA); Marv Dunphy (USA); John Koch (USA); Larry Rundle (USA)
Court of Honor: The American Volleyball Coaches Association William G. Morgan Award: ASICS

Mike Bright (USA); Al Scates (USA)
Court of Honor: Federation Internationale de Volleyball

Dr. James Coleman (USA); Merton H. Kennedy (USA); Jon Stanley (USA); Ron Von Hagen (USA)

Dr. George J. Fisher (USA); Thomas Haine (USA); Rolf Engen (USA); Catalino Ignacio (USA)

Col. Edward DeGroot (USA); Alton Fish (USA); Mary Jo Peppler (USA)
Court of Honor: USA Volleyball

Douglas Beal (USA); Glen Davies (USA); Kathy Gregory (USA); Michael O'Hara (USA)
Court of Honor: Young Men's Christian Association

Leonard Gibson; Flo Hyman (USA); Eugene Selznick (USA); Jane Ward (USA); Harry Wilson (USA)
Court of Honor: 1980 U.S. Women's Olympic Team and 1984 U.S. Men's Olympic Team

Dr. Harold T. Friermood (USA)

William G. Morgan (USA)

William G. Morgan Award

Mountain View Landscapes and Lawncare, Inc. (Chicopee, Mass.) and its founder/president Stephen Corrigan have been instrumental in the Volleyball Hall of Fame’s success. Corrigan, the current chairman of the board for the Holyoke Chamber of Commerce and vice president of the Holyoke YMCA, has a long history with the Volleyball Hall of Fame. He is a past president of the Volleyball Hall of Fame, the Holyoke Rotary Club and the Massachusetts Nursery and Landscape Association. He was presented the Holyoke Chamber business person of the year award in 2004. Corrigan has been an active civic leader in his local area. Among his more notable completed projects are the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass. (original hall and current hall), Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford, Conn., Dr Seuss Memorial in Springfield, Mass., the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Worcester, Mass., the Holyoke Soldiers Home Living Sign, Simsbury (Conn.) track and artificial field project, Connecticut Science Center Science Building, West Hartford Veterans Memorial, Chicopee Comp High School and Worcester Vocational High School, UMass Integrated Science building and the AIC Athletic Fields and Running Track.

Mintonette Medallion of Merit

Richard (Rick) Lajoie joined the Volleyball Hall of Fame committee in January 1985. He immediately got involved with the history of the sport and researched the biography on William Morgan as the first inductee and then did the same for nearly every inductee since. He had also served as the first archivist. In 1987, Lajoie served as the induction chair and developed the “Induction Celebration” program. As the induction Celebration grew, Lajoie developed and designed the Court of Honor Award, the Morgan Award and Mintonette Medallion of Merit awards for the Hall of Fame. He also wrote and directed the Hall of Fame inductee videos, and continues to research the inductee background and write the scripts for the videos that are shown during the induction dinner. Along the way, Lajoie held several administrative positions on the Hall of Fame including serving as president from 1990 to 1993.


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