Charles “Chuck” Stemm, a regional commissioner within USA Volleyball since 1992 and a current member of its board of directors, was presented with the 2008 Harold T. Friermood Award, the highest honor USA Volleyball can bestow, at the USA Volleyball Dorothy C. Boyce 63rd Annual Awards and Recognitions Banquet on May 22 in Atlanta. Stemm is the 39th recipient of the “Frier” Award.
“It hasn’t sunk in yet,” Stemm said. “It is fantastic. I have sat and watched my idols receive this reward in the past. I would never have thought of myself as in this company of people. To receive this honor is the highlight of my life.”
Earlier in the evening, Albert M. Monaco, Jr., was honored as the William G. Morgan “Founders Award” recipient, Tom Blue was honored as the Harry E. Wilson Distinguished Service Award, Kim Norman, Kathy Ferraraccio and Anne Hughes were presented George J. Fisher Leader in Volleyball awards, Richard E. Smith and Benjamin Jordan III (posthumously) were presented with the Wilbur H. Peck Referee Emeritus award, Karen M. Johnson and Peter J. Dunn were bestowed the USA Volleyball Medallion of Merit award. USA Volleyball All-Time Great Players were presented to Ninja Jorgensen and Bernie Holtzman
The Boyce Moment spotlighted the 20th anniversary of the 1988 U.S. Men’s Olympic Team capturing the gold medal in Seoul. Among the honorees in attendance were players Scott Fortune and Ricci Luyties, team manager Gary Moy, consultant Rudy Suwara and team physician Dr. Lee Rice. Other 1988 players honored were Craig Buck, Bob Ctvrtlik, Karch Kiraly, Doug Partie, Jon Root, Eric Sato, Dave Saunders, Jeff Stork, Troy Tanner, Steve Timmons. Staff for the 1988 U.S. Men’s Olympic Team included head coach Marv Dunphy, assistant coaches Gary Sato and Jim Coleman (deceased) and head of delegation Bill Baird. Bobby Clarke served as the FIVB arbiter. Five members of the 1988 team – Buck, Ctvrtlik, Kiraly, Timmons and Dunphy – have been inducted into the Volleyball Hall of Fame. In 1999 this gold-medal winning Olympic Team was inducted into the Volleyball Hall of Fame “Court of Honor.”
The Southern Region Salute recognized 11 individuals from USA Volleyball’s Southern Region who have made a difference in the sport. The group included Ken Cain, Don Crawley, Sr., Sid Feldman, Bud Fields, Carmen Foster, Bill Fulford, Brenda McIntosh, Catherine Neely, Rose Powell, Keith Ricketts and Jim Stewart.
Stemm’s administrative duties within the USA Volleyball umbrella took off in 1982 when he was elected as regional commissioner for the Michiana Region (the States of Michigan and Indiana). After a geographic shift to the regions, the Hoosier Regional Volleyball Association was born and Stemm held control of the state of Indiana (Michigan became the Lakeshore Regional Volleyball Association). With the redistricting the only interruption to his commissioner role, Stemm has served 26 years in the USA Volleyball regional movement.
“The group of people we surrounded ourselves with when we started out the Michiana Region is one of my proudest accomplishments,” Stemm said. “They took the ball and ran with it. Success of our region is based on the people who helped run the organization. Our region’s success in junior volleyball is due to Tom Pingel. Without him, we would not have as successful of a program.”
In 1986, Stemm was appointed to the USA Volleyball Special Events Division, the forerunner of the National Championships Division. He was invited to serve as a member of the Junior Olympic Volleyball Advisory Committee in 1988, and the committee evolved into what is known today as the Youth Junior Olympic Volleyball Division (YJOVD). Stemm was a key player with the junior movement in its beginning stages.
Stemm was assigned the responsibility of chairing the awards for the Junior Olympic Championships in 1988 and 1989. After that assignment, he took over the chair of the All-American Awards Committee at the U.S. Open and remained in that position until 1998. As part of his real profession, Stemm was an insurance agent in his father’s firm.
Stemm has also contributed his leadership for many years to the USA Volleyball Grass Outdoor Championships. He became a vocal and influential force while serving on the Regional Operations Division (ROD) as part of its insurance committee.
As one of six current ROD directors serving on the USA Volleyball Board of Directors, he has been previously honored by USA Volleyball with the George J. Fisher Leader in Volleyball Award in 1990, the Dr. Neville A. “Doc” Booth Commissioner’s Award in 1993 and the Karen M. Johnson Human Resources Award in 2003.
Stemm, who retired from active competition in 1990, began playing elite volleyball in 1966. When the AAU selected Elkhart as the site of its National Championships, he was tagged as the local tournament director.
Stemm played in his first USA Volleyball Open National Championships at Salt Lake City in 1972. He continued playing for several years. At the1980 Open in Portland, Oregon. Stemm earned his National Referee rating and became the head official for the Michiana Region.