Manager, Media Relations and Publications
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (April 16, 2009) – Karch Kiraly (San Clemente, Calif.), the most decorated player in the history of volleyball and an international legend – both indoor and on the beach – has been named an assistant coach of the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team.
U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon (Christchurch, New Zealand) hired Kiraly as an assistant coach for the program which won the 2008 Olympic Games silver medal in Beijing. Along with McCutcheon, he joins a staff that also includes assistant coach/technical coordinator Jamie Morrison (Dana Point, Calif.) and athletic trainer Jill Wosmek.
“We all know how great Karch was as a player, and I strongly believe that he will have similar success in this game as a coach,” McCutcheon said. “His addition to our staff is a huge boon for this program. His knowledge, experience and drive will be invaluable.”
Kiraly, 48, has been recognized by many as the greatest volleyball player ever. The Federation Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) named him as the greatest men’s volleyball player of the sports first century. Kiraly is the only volleyball player –male or female – to win Olympic Games gold medals in both the indoor and beach volleyball disciplines. Further, he is the first volleyball player – and one of only two ever – to win three gold medals in the sport. He is a 2001 inductee into the Volleyball Hall of Fame and a 2008 inductee into the United States Olympic Committee Hall of Fame.
“Two things intrigue me most about this position; the first is the opportunity to work under Coach McCutcheon, one of – if not THE – best coaching minds on the planet,” Kiraly said. “The second is the phenomenal potential that exists on the women’s side of American volleyball. High school and club volleyball for women are so advanced in popularity and skill level here in the United States. College volleyball has an NCAA Tournament of 64 teams for its own version of March Madness, along with hundreds of outstanding players.”
USA Volleyball Chief Executive Officer Doug Beal, who served as the head coach of the Kiraly-led 1984 U.S. Olympic team that won the gold medal, views the pairing of McCutcheon with Kiraly as an exciting synergy of volleyball individuals for the U.S. Women’s National Team and the sport.
“By having Karch join Hugh’s staff brings about an exciting time for the U.S. Women’s National Team and USA Volleyball,” Beal said. “Both have long-term potential of being not only great coaches, but being wonderful volleyball ambassadors with ancillary benefits to all areas of our sport on this very expanded platform as U.S. Women’s National Team coaches. I’m positive that Karch will bring to this position the same qualities that made him so great on the court and on the sand – a unique focus, a total commitment to excellence and an unswerving drive to be the best and make everyone around him the best.”
While both McCutcheon and Kiraly are new to coaching elite women’s volleyball at the international level, Kiraly does not envision this as a problem but possibly even a positive for the program.
“I think Hugh, Jamie (Morrison) and I have a real advantage having taken paths here from outside the college game,” Kiraly said. “One of our goals is to build stronger ties with the Olympic feeder system – NCAA college volleyball – and it’s probably easier to do that with no prior college history.”
It is not uncommon for iconic sporting figures to get into coaching their chosen sport once their playing days are over. McCutcheon sees a lot of transfer between the skills Kiraly had as a player, and the qualities he will bring as a coach.
“Karch had many strengths on the court, one of which was his ability to make those around him better,” McCutcheon said. “This skill is clearly a core competency of successful coaches. I also believe Karch’s playing abilities in the non-point scoring aspects of the game – serve reception, floor defense, coverage and setting – make him a great fit for our program.”
As a player, Kiraly led the U.S. Men’s Team to an unprecedented string of championships including the famed “Triple Crown of Volleyball” consisting of gold medals at the 1984 Olympic Games, the 1985 FIVB World Cup and the 1986 FIVB World Championship. Kiraly also captained the U.S. Men’s Team to their second consecutive gold medal at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul. The FIVB also named him “Best Player in the World in 1986 and 1988.
After years of dominating the game on the hard court indoors, Kiraly returned to the sand and became equally dominant in beach volleyball. He and partner Kent Steffes captured the 1996 Olympic Games gold medal in beach volleyball as the sport made its Olympic debut in Atlanta.
Before retiring at the end of 2007, Kiraly had won 148 beach volleyball tournaments (144 domestic, 3 FIVB international events), more than any other player in history. He won at least one tournament in 24 of his 27 seasons of playing beach volleyball, claiming titles with 13 different partners during his four-decade long career. Kiraly was named the AVP (Association of Volleyball Professionals) Most Valuable Player six times.
Kiraly now lives in San Clemente, Calif., with his wife, Janna, and sons Kristian and Kory.
USA Volleyball and the City of Anaheim are currently negotiating to have the U.S. Women’s National Team train in Anaheim in a similar arrangement as with the U.S. Men’s National Team that won the 2008 Olympic Games gold medal in Beijing. Once the deal is finalized, Anaheim will be designated as the Official Host City for the U.S. Men’s and Women’s National Volleyball Teams through the 2016 Olympic Games. The U.S. Women’s National Team will join the U.S. Men’s National Team in training at the American Sports Centers in Anaheim, Calif.
About USA Volleyball
Founded in 1928, USA Volleyball is a Colorado incorporated non-profit organization recognized by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) and the Federation International de Volleyball (FIVB) as the National Governing Body for the sport of Volleyball in the United States.
USA Volleyball is responsible for both the Olympic disciplines of indoor volleyball and beach volleyball. USA Volleyball has over 240,000 registered members, 12,000 teams and 5,000 clubs nationwide. With an annual budget in excess of $11 million dollars, USA Volleyball supports the USA men’s and women’s senior national team programs, youth and junior national teams, national championship events, coaching education and certification programs, grassroots development, and programs for the disabled and ParalympicTeams. USA Volleyball has a rich tradition of success as evidenced by winning an Olympic medal in every Olympic Games since 1984 and capturing numerous World Cup, World Championship and Continental Championship titles.
USA Volleyball is committed to and works toward opportunity for all to participate. It is an advocate for all Americans endeavoring to assure universal access to opportunities at all levels of the game.
About City of Anaheim
The City of Anaheim, founded in 1857, is one of the nation’s premier municipalities and is California’s 10th most populous city. Anaheim covers 50 square miles with more than 345,500 residents and more than 3,200 City employees. The municipal corporation’s annual budget is $1.4 billion. Anaheim supports a thriving business community with companies such as Carl Karcher Enterprises, Inc., L-3 Communications, Pacific Sunwear, and Disneyland Resort. Successful sports franchises call Anaheim home, including Angels Baseball, Anaheim Ducks, Anaheim Arsenal, and the 2008 Olympic Gold Medal winning USA Men's Volleyball team. Anaheim also boasts world-class meeting and entertainment venues with the Anaheim Convention Center, the largest on the west coast, Honda Center, The Grove of Anaheim, Anaheim GardenWalk, and Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Annually, Anaheim welcomes millions of visitors to the city, truly making it where the world comes to live, work and play. For more information, please visit www.anaheim.net.