Jerry Fitzsimons, Volleyball Hall of Fame Public Relations Department (mailto:email@example.com)
Bill Kauffman, USA Volleyball Manager of Media Relations and Publications (firstname.lastname@example.org)
HOLYOKE, Mass. (June 26, 2008) - The Volleyball Hall of Fame announced today the names of six volleyball greats who will be inducted as the Class of 2008 into its hallowed halls on Oct. 23 in Holyoke, Mass., the sports’ birthplace.
The newest induction class consists of Sinan Erdem of Turkey (posthumously), Andrea Giani of Italy, Masae Kasai of Japan, Yuri Poyarkov of Russia, Vladimir Savvine of Russia (posthumously) and Randy Stoklos of the United States. Erdem and Savvine were selected in the official/administrator category, while the remaining four will be enshrined in athlete categories.
“This year’s six-member Volleyball Hall of Fame induction class is a remarkable, diverse group of individuals that has impacted our sport in so many parts of the world,” said Doug Beal, co-chair of the Volleyball Hall of Fame Selection Committee. “This induction class, on par with its preceding inductees, truly shows the global reach of the Volleyball Hall of Fame and its significance as an institution capturing the international history and honors of this great sport.”
Randy Stoklos ranks among the top three beach players of all-time in regard to tournaments played (second, 366), event titles (third, 122) and earnings (third, $1,876,620). Stoklos and Sinjin Smith are the winningest men's beach volleyball team in history with 114 titles in 235 starts with 203 podium placements and 212 "final four" finishes. The pair also combined for $1,902.488 in earnings, which ranks second behind Karch Kiraly/Kent Steffes' $2,900,112 in winnings. The duo captured "unofficial" FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships in 1987, 1989-1992. The last title in '92 was at an Olympic demonstration event in Spain after the Barcelona Games. Stoklos was named the AVP's Most Valuable Player in 1989 and 1991 and its Best Setter in 1989.
“It is great to see Randy recognized for his accomplishments on the beach, especially for him playing in an era prior to beach volleyball being officially part of the Olympic Games,” said Al Monaco, co-chair of the Volleyball Hall of Fame Selection Committee. “He was among the best pre-1996 Olympic beach athletes in the world.”
Andrea Giani of Italy was a middle blocker, an outside passer/hitter and opposite for Italy’s Men’s National Team that won Olympic silver medals in 1996 and 2004 and an Olympic bronze medal in 2000. His teams also won three World Championship titles in 1990, 1994 and 1998 and four European championships in 1993, 1995, 1999, 2003. Giani played in Italy’s professional leagues from 1984-2007. He is currently coaching Cimone Modena in the Italian professional leagues. Giani was, perhaps, the most versatile athlete on the dominant Italian teams of the era.
“Andrea was part of the great Italian teams of the 1990s and early 2000s, and was probably their most versatile player in an era of specialization,” Beal said. “He could play every position except setter and stayed on the court for every rotation on a team that won three consecutive world titles.”
Sinan Erdem (1927-2003) was a former Turkish team captain and long-time head of the Turkish National Olympic Committee. After retiring as a player, he became the coach of the Turkish national team. Between 1957 and 1967 Erdem served as the secretary general of the Turkish Volleyball Federation. He served as the head of the Sport Organizing Commision of FIVB between 1972 and 1984 after becoming involved at the international organization in 1966. He became the deputy secretary general of the Turkish National Olympic Committee (TMOK) in 1975, before serving as the secretary general from 1982 to 1989. In 1989, Erdem was appointed chairman of the TMOK, a position he held until his death. He was elected to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) board of directors in 1988 and served as an IOC member at the 1988, 1992 and 1996 Olympic Games.
“Sinan was an extremely good volleyball player, but played in an era before worldwide publicity took hold of the sport,” Monaco said. “Yet, he was an even better leader. For better than 10 years, he was a principal organizer of major international events including the Olympics. I am proud to count him as a friend.”
Masae Kasai, captain of the Japanese national women's volleyball team in the early 1960s, and it was her team that shocked the world starting with their victory in the 1960 FIVB Volleyball World Championship. She later helped Japan to gold medals at the 1962 FIVB World Championship and the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games. After retiring from her career as a volleyball player, Kasai continued promoting volleyball as a coach for Mama-san Volleyball (middle-aged women's volleyball). Kasai served as vice-chairperson at the Japan Volleyball Association from 2003 to 2004. She was charged with strengthening women's volleyball, as well as heading Japan's women's team at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.
“Japan has had a great tradition of volleyball, particularly during the 1960s and early 1970s,” Beal said. “Masae led Japan to the very first Olympic gold medal in Tokyo and helped solidify volleyball as an Olympic sport.”
Yuri Poyarkov was a long-time captain of the Russian national volleyball team. He won three Olympic Games medals, including gold medals in the first two Olympics with volleyball in 1964 and 1968 in Tokyo and Mexico City. Poyarkov, an Honored Master of Sports for volleyball in Russia, added a bronze medal at the 1972 Olympic Games. He also led his country to World Championship gold medals in 1960 and 1962, followed by a bronze medal in the 1966 World Championship in Czechoslovakia. Poyarkov was awarded the Soviet Badge of Honors in 1965 and 1969.
“Yuri represented the great Soviet teams that dominated international volleyball in both the pre-Olympic and early Olympic years,” Beal said. “His playing longevity helped the Soviet Union become one of the early dynasties of the sport.”
Vladimir Savvine of Russia died in 1975 at the age of 56 after a long and distinguished volleyball career. Savvine’s Soviet army volleyball team (CSKA) won the Soviet championship in 1949, 1950 and 1952-54. He was part of the Soviet team that won the first FIVB World Championship in 1949 and won the European Championship in 1951. In 1953, he served as secretary of the Soviet Olympic Committee and played a key role in getting volleyball on the Olympic program. In 1953-1967 and 1972-1975, Savvine served as president of the USSR Volleyball Federation. In between those terms, he was president of the European Volleyball Confederation (1967-70). Savvine, who served as vice president within the FIVB from 1953 to 1975, was honored with the Master of Sports designation by the Soviet Union.
“I was lucky enough to be introduced to Vladimir early in my term as executive director of USA Volleyball,” Monaco said. “He was a devoted volleyball leader in the world and Soviet Union. Vladimir and Harry Wilson (USA Volleyball president from 1969 to 1971 and the United States’ principal representative to the FIVB for many years) dreamed of regular match exchanges between the United States and the Soviet Union, and that became a reality.”
ABOUT THE VOLLEYBALL HALL OF FAME:
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. Prior to 2008, a total of 82 individuals have been enshrined into the Volleyball Hall of Fame, which is located in the birthplace of the sport. The 23rd enshrinement event, including Hall of Famers 83 through 88, will take place at the Hall of Fame at 444 Dwight St. in Heritage State Park on Oct. 23, 2008.