Kiraly Selected for Academic All-America® Hall of Fame

May 08, 2009, 7:53 p.m. (ET)

Bill Kauffman
Manager, Media Relations and Publications
Phone: 719-228-6800

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (May 8, 2009) – U.S. Women’s National Team Assistant Coach Karch Kiraly (San Clemente, Calif.) is one of five individuals announced May 8 as inductees into the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-America® Hall of Fame.

Kiraly, who accepted the position as assistant coach on the U.S. Women’s National Team in April 2009, has been recognized by many as the greatest volleyball player ever in the world. He is the only volleyball player – male or female – to win Olympic Games gold medals in both the indoor and beach volleyball disciplines. Further, Kiraly is the first volleyball player – and one of two ever – to win three gold medals in the sport. The Federation Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) named Kiraly as the greatest men’s volleyball player of the sports first century.

Karch Kiraly setting while competing for UCLA. Photo courtesy of UCLA“I’m deeply honored to be inducted into the CoSIDA Academic All-America Hall of Fame,” Kiraly said. “Caring as much about the ‘student’ in student-athlete, engaging your mind as well as your body, and doing something well if you do it at all, are ideas I care deeply about – and this award is the ultimate reflection of that.”

Kiraly, who competed in men’s collegiate volleyball at UCLA from 1979-1982 while earning a bachelor of science degree in bio-chemistry with a 3.34 grade point average, will be joined by men’s basketball player Tom Clark (Mount Vernon Nazarene University), women’s basketball player Diane Deitz (University of Michigan), women’s basketball player Julie Roe Lach (Milliken University) and football player Dr. Patrick Tyrance (University of Nebraska) as part of the Hall’s Class of 2009. They will be inducted into the Hall of Fame at CoSIDA’s annual workshop in San Antonio on June 22 at 6 p.m.

“This is another outstanding Academic All-America® Hall of Fame class,” said 2008-09 CoSIDA President Nick Joos of Baylor University. “These individuals excelled as student-athletes on their respective campuses and have continued to achieve at high levels in their chosen professions. These individuals are truly the best of the best, and CoSIDA is proud to recognize the outstanding academic and athletic achievements of student-athletes around the nation.”

CoSIDA established the Academic All-America® Hall of Fame in 1988 with the purpose to honor former college student-athletes who have excelled in their professions and made substantial contributions to their community. To be eligible for the Hall of Fame, a candidate must have been an Academic All-America team member who graduated at least 10 years prior to nomination. In the case of Kiraly, he is the 2009 honorary induction as his collegiate career preceded the Academic All-America® program for men’s volleyball.

While at UCLA, Kiraly was a four-time All-American volleyball player leading the Bruins to three national championships, an overall 126-5 record and two undefeated seasons in four years. He was honored as the Most Outstanding Performer at the NCAA Tournament in 1981 and 1982. Kiraly was the recipient of a 1982 NCAA Post-Graduate Scholarship and the 1983 NCAA Top Five Award. In 1992, UCLA retired the All-American’s jersey and inducted him into the UCLA Hall of Fame.

After college, Kiraly was instrumental in leading 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.

With two Olympic Games gold-medal performances to his credit, Kiraly went on to play professional volleyball in the Italian League from 1990 to 1992. He won the World Club Championship with his team Il Messaggero in 1991 and was named the most valuable player. His team also won the Italian League championship in the 1990-91 season.

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 has been bestowed many honors for his volleyball skills. He was inducted into the Volleyball Hall of Fame in 2001. The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) recognized him in 2008 with induction into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame on June 19 in Chicago. The American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) inducted Kiraly into its 2005 Hall of Fame Class. Earlier this year, Kiraly was inducted into the California Sports Hall of Fame.

For more details on the CoSIDA Academic All-America® Hall of Fame Class of 2009, click here.