HOLYOKE, Mass. (Oct. 24, 2008) - The Volleyball Hall of Fame inducted six international volleyball greats into its hallowed shrine during a ceremony held Oct. 23 at Holyoke, Mass., the sport's birthplace. 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 23rd class, inducted 30 years after the Volleyball Hall of Fame was incorporated, consists of Sinan Erdem of Turkey (posthumously), Andrea Giani of Italy, Masae Kasai Nakamura of Japan, Yuri Poyarkov of Ukraine, Vladimir Savvine of Russia (posthumously) and Randy Stoklos of the United States. Erdem and Savvine were selected in the leader category, while the remaining four were enshrined as athletes. The Hall now has 88 members since the first induction class in 1985.
"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 and chief executive officer of USA Volleyball. "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.
"The inductions were part of a wonderful ceremony filled with emotion," Beal continued. "The acceptance speeches of Masae and Andrea were truly an emotional moment. A high point of the ceremony, as always, is watching the reaction of the inductees in being inducted to this international Volleyball Hall of Fame."
In addition to the six inductees into the Volleyball Hall of Fame, the City of Holyoke was awarded the William G. Morgan Award for its long-time support for the Hall.
Among the attendees at the Volleyball Hall of Fame Induction ceremony were Beal, U.S. Men's Olympic Indoor Volleyball Team Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon, U.S. Women's Olympic Indoor Volleyball Team Head Coach ‘Jenny' Lang Ping, newly elected USA Volleyball Board of Directors chairman David Schreff and outgoing USA Volleyball Board of Directors President Al Monaco. McCutcheon and Lang Ping, who led their 2008 Olympic Teams to a gold and silver medal, respectively, addressed the audience following a short video presentation of the Olympics.
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 Volleyball Hall of Famer 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.
"Being inducted is a great honor for myself, but I don't feel like I am coming in alone with all the players I have competed with, whether playing as partners or against," Stoklos said. "They will be coming into the Hall with me. I could never have done this without them."
"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 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, a rare five-time Olympian from Italy and the youngest player ever inducted into Volleyball Hall of Fame at age 38, was perhaps the most versatile athlete on the dominant Italian teams from the late 1980s through the 2004 Olympic Games. He led the Italians to silver medals at the 1996 and 2004 Olympic Games, in addition to a bronze medal at the 2000 Olympic Games. His teams also won three consecutive FIVB World Championship titles (1990, 1994 and 1998) and seven FIVB World League titles between 1990 and 2000. Giani was a part of five Italian League titles (1987, 1990, 1992, 1997, 1998), one Super Italian Cup (1998), two Champions Cups (1997, 1998), two European Confederation of Volleyball (CEV) Cups (1992, 1995), two European Super Cups (1989, 1990) and one World Club Championship (1989). After playing in Italy's professional leagues from 1984-2007, he assumed the head coach position with league member Cimone Modena.
"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. Erdem was appointed chairman of the TMOK in 1989, a position he held until his death in 2003. 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," said Monaco, who accepted Erdem's honor on his behalf. "Yet, he was an even better leader. For better than 10 years, he was a principal organizer of major international events including the Olympics."
Masae Kasai Nakamura
Masae Kasai Nakamura, being inducted into the Volleyball Hall of Fame 44 years to the day of Japan winning the first-ever Olympic Games gold medal in women's indoor volleyball, was captain of the Japanese national women's volleyball team in the early 1960s. With her, Japan shocked the international volleyball community with its titles at the 1960 and 1962 FIVB World Championship, fermenting itself as one of the favorites at the 1964 Olympic Games. Playing in her home country in the first-ever Olympics for volleyball, Kasae Nakamura played a major role in Japan's title at the 1964 Games in Tokyo. After retiring from her career as a volleyball player, she continued promoting volleyball as a coach for Mama-san Volleyball (middle-aged women's volleyball). Kasai Nakamura 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."
Ukrainian Yuri Poyarkov, listed in the Guiness Book of World Records as having won the most medals in international sports, 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 FIVB World Championship gold medals in 1960 and 1962. After his first Olympic Games gold medal, he led the Soviet team to a gold medal at the 1965 FIVB World Cup and a bronze medal at the 1996 FIVB World Championship. Poyarkov was awarded the Soviet Badge of Honors in 1965 and 1969, and twice garnered the "Order of Merit" by the President of Ukraine. He serves as a member of the Executive Committee of the Ukrainian Volleyball Federation and Deputy Chief of the Olympic Committee in the Kharkiv Region.
"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. While still an active player with the national team, Savvine entered into the unique role as both a player and chairman of the Soviet Volleyball Federation. He served as vice president within the FIVB from 1953 to 1975 and played a major role in establishing the first Olympic Games for volleyball. Savvine served as secretary of the Soviet Olympic Committee in 1953 and later held the president's role of the USSR Volleyball Federation from 1953-1967 and 1972-1975. He also was the president of the European Volleyball Confederation from 1967-1971. Accepting Savvine's induction into the Volleyball Hall of Fame was Viktor Sviridov, the head of the Russian Volleyball Federation Secretariat Department.
"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."
Sinan Erdem; Andrea Giani; Masae Kasai; Yuri Poyarkov; Vladimir Savvine; Randy Stoklos
William G. Morgan Award: City of Holyoke
Bob Ctvrtlik; Andrea Gardini; Carlos Nuzman; Kerri Pottharst; Yuan Weimin; Dimitar Zlatanov
William G. Morgan Award: The Dowd Group
Mintonette Medallion of Merit: William "Ron" Collamore
Bernie Holtzman; Endre Holvay; Jackie Silva; Edward Skorek; Nina Smoleeva; Shigeo Yamada
Court of Honor Award: The Japan Volleyball Association (JVA)
Bernard Rajzman; Eugenio George; Stanislaw Gosciniak; Cecilia Tait; Konstantin Reva; Ron Lang
William G. Morgan Award: Holyoke Medical Center
Karolyn Kirby; Mireya Luis; Josef Musil; Seiji Oko
William G. Morgan Award: Holyoke Gas & Electric
Givi Akhvlediani; Jungo Morita; Sinjin Smith; Julio Velasco
William G. Morgan Award: PeoplesBank
Mintonette Medallion of Merit: Alex Stetynski
Lang Ping; Tomasz Wojtowicz; Vyacheslav Platonov
Court of Honor: 1990-1998 Italian Men's National Team
William G. Morgan Award: Volleyball Magazine
Mintonette Medallion of Merit: Kirk Kilgour
Karch Kiraly; Regla Torres; Jean Gaertner
Mintonette Medallion of Merit: Karen Keirstead
Hirofumi Daimatsu; Inna Ryskal; Takako Shirai; Yuri Tchesnokov; Harold Wendt
Wilbur H. Peck; James G. Wortham
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; Craig Buck; Dusty Dvorak; Yasutaka Matsudaira; Steve Timmons; Paula Weishoff
Andy Banachowski; Albert Monaco Jr.; Pedro "Pete" Velasco
Court of Honor: United States Armed Forces
Mintonette Medallion of Merit: Richard Caplan
Patricia Bright; Donald Shondell
Court of Honor: Springfield College
Mintonette Medallion of Merit: Sally Kus
Debbie Green; Robert L. Lindsay; C.L. "Bobb" Miller; Arie Selinger
Court of Honor: Special Olympics International
William G. Morgan Award: Spalding Sports Worldwide
Patty Dowdell; Marv Dunphy; John Koch; Larry Rundle
Court of Honor: The American Volleyball Coaches Association
William G. Morgan Award: ASICS
Mike Bright; Al Scates
Court of Honor: Federation Internationale de Volleyball
Dr. James Coleman; Merton H. Kennedy; Jon Stanley; Ron Von Hagen
Dr. George J. Fisher; Thomas Haine; Rolf Engen; Catalino Ignacio
Col. Edward DeGroot; Alton Fish; Mary Jo Peppler
Court of Honor: USA Volleyball
Douglas Beal; Glen Davies; Kathy Gregory; Michael O'Hara
Court of Honor: Young Men's Christian Association
Leonard Gibson; Flo Hyman; Eugene Selznick; Jane Ward; Harry Wilson
Court of Honor: 1980 U.S. Women's Olympic Team and 1984 U.S. Men's Olympic Team
Dr. Harold T. Friermood
William G. Morgan