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Volleyball family mourns passing of Zbigniew Rusek

Zbigniew Rusek (left) played with clubs in Poland and France
Lausanne, Switzerland, August 8, 2018 - The volleyball family mourns the passing of former Polish player and coach Zbigniew Rusek. Also a former vice president of the Polish Volleyball Federation and member of the FIVB's Coaching Commission, Mr Rusek was devoted to the sport of volleyball and known for his great knowledge and intuition, but most of all as a cordial and cheerful friend.

Zbigniew Rusek was born on October 2, 1938 in Myslowice. As a player he won Poland’s national championship seven times. As a member of the national team he represented his country in 129 matches, winning the bronze medal of the Summer Universiade in 1959. After ending his career as a player, he worked as a coach for Polish and French teams, at both club and national levels.

In the years from 1954 to 1958 he played for Stal Mielec. In 1958 he began studying at the University of Physical Education in Warsaw while playing for the university’s AZS AWF Warsaw. With his team he won the national championship in 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961 and 1963, as well as a silver medal in 1962. From 1963 he played for Legia Warsaw, with whom he again became champion of Poland in 1964 and 1967 and vice champion in 1965 and 1966. In the 1967/1968 season he played for French club CSM Clamart. He concluded his active career with one more Polish championship in the season of 1968/1969, which he won with Legia Warsaw.

Zbigniew Rusek (first right) with the Legia Warsaw team in 1965

Zbigniew Rusek made his national team debut on September 26, 1959 in a friendly match against the USSR - a tournament which ended with Poland winning a silver medal. He played at the 1959 Summer Universiade (bronze medal), the World Championships in 1960 (4th place) and 1966 (6th place), the 1963 European Championship (6th place) and the World Cup in 1965 (silver medal). His last national team appearance was in a friendly match against Israel on March 1, 1967. He played in a total of 129 national team encounters, including 107 official matches.

After ending his career as a player, he worked as a coach. In the years 1980-1972 he was an assistant coach alongside Tadeusz Szlagor – the head coach of Poland's men’s national team. In 1973 Zbigniew Rusek led Poland's men’s junior team to a bronze medal at the European Championship. In the years 1973-1975 he coached the women’s team of Spójnia Warsaw. 1975 marked the beginning of his work in France, where he led the junior (1975-1977) and senior (1977-1979) women’s national teams. In 1980-1981 he was the head of the Polish Volleyball Federation’s Training Department and from 1992-2000 was the PVF’s Vice President. Zbigniew Rusek was also a member of the International Volleyball Federation’s Coaching Commission.


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