Volleyball Hall of Fame, AVCA Seek to Educate FIVB Congress

By Bill Kauffman | Sept. 18, 2012, 12 a.m. (ET)

Bill Kauffman
USA Volleyball Communications
Phone: 719-228-6800
Email: bill.kauffman@usav.org
@USA_Volleyball - USAV Facebook

ANAHEIM, Calif. (Sept. 18, 2012) – The Volleyball Hall of Fame and American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) are attending the 33rd FIVB World Congress being held this week in Anaheim, Calif., with a shared mission – building awareness for both organizations to an international base.

The Volleyball Hall of Fame, located in the birthplace of the sport in Holyoke, Mass., will enshrine its 27th annual induction class next month. The Hall will then have 112 total inductees representing 20 different countries.

As a means of educating the broadest gathering of international delegates, the Volleyball Hall of Fame has an exhibit booth set up inside the Disneyland Hotel for individuals to familiarize themselves with the organization.

“The largest benefit of attending the FIVB Congress is the education aspect to just let people know the Volleyball Hall of Fame exists and what it does,” Volleyball Hall of Fame Executive Director George Mulry said. “Many of the people here know William G. Morgan, they know Holyoke, Mass., but it is that one step further that the Volleyball Hall of Fame is taking to remove any disconnect. This is a great way to exploit ourselves as the international Volleyball Hall of Fame.”

The AVCA, which just celebrated reaching 6,000 members for the first time a few weeks ago, hopes to break another record with a goal of 2,600 participants at its 2012 AVCA Annual Convention set for Dec. 12-16 at Louisville, Ky. Last year the organization set a record for a third consecutive year with 2,400 participants at its Annual Convention held in San Antonio.

“Our membership group for international coaches is not where we would like it,” AVCA Manager of Awards, Membership & Event Support Amanda Brungs said. “We see a lot of opportunity for growth. We really wanted to come here to expand our reach, expand our awareness and hopefully make some international contacts where we can further grow our international membership.”

The Volleyball Hall of Fame has continued to build its relationship with the FIVB over the past several years the garner a wider respect internationally. FIVB President Jizhong Wei became the first leader of the international governing body to attend an induction ceremony.

“In 2010, having FIVB President Wei at our induction to see and feel what the event is like was a huge step for us in gaining recognition throughout the world,” Mulry said. “It is very important that, because we do have the international scope, that we are recognized by everybody and that we want to be the Volleyball Hall of Fame for the world.”

Like the Volleyball Hall of Fame, the AVCA desires to make stronger ties to the international scene to benefit not only its own members, but to assist in educating coaches across the globe. In the past, the AVCA has brought in coaches from other countries to it conventions to showcase different coaching philosophies from around the world. Now they are striving to increase the number of international coaches attending the event creating a melting pot of knowledge.

“The other part of that is just awareness of our convention, which is the largest gathering of volleyball coaches and vendors in the world. What is happening at our convention is not happening in any other country,” AVCA Director of Membership, Marketing & Board Relations Ashley Beil said. “So hopefully we can gain some awareness of the convention, encourage some of the international coaches to attend the convention and see it, then take it back to their own countries and tell other coaches that this is an event that they need to attend.”

In addition to the exhibit booth, the Volleyball Hall of Fame will have a video shown on Friday highlighting itself to the international delegates.

“We are calling the video 'In Their Own Words' and it is essentially some background on what the Hall of Fame is, and most of it is strictly from our inductees represented over the last seven years from 2005 on,” Mulry said. “The video describes what it is like being inducted and the feeling it gets, and why it is important and how special it is to have a Hall of Fame as a place to celebrate the history of the sport. I am kind of excited about it.”

Several Volleyball Hall of Fame members are present at the FIVB World Congress either as delegates or guests, and some will speak to the benefits of the organization.

“At the lunch on Friday, Karch Kiraly and Bob Ctvrtlik, who are American inductees, can certainly speak on behalf of the Hall of Fame as to what it means to be in Holyoke, to be enshrined at the birth place of volleyball and just what it means as far as their careers go,” Mulry said.

The Volleyball Hall of Fame leadership has taken a proactive approach on building awareness and a worldwide volleyball community for the purpose of strengthening the Volleyball Hall of Fame.

“Most of our campaign this year has been building our database and contact list throughout the world so people are getting the information from the Hall of Fame,” Mulry said. “Along with that comes the opportunity to donate, the opportunity to share your ideas on what you would like to see at the Hall of Fame, not only the people who should be inducted, but events the Hall of Fame could do. It truly is their Hall of Fame for the entire world. That is the underlying theme. If everybody walks out of the presentation on Friday and the Congress saying 'this is your Hall of Fame,' that would be great.”

The AVCA has seen some upward trajectory in its other coaching events held during the year, but are looking to push the envelope even further.

“We have seen an increase in our international attendance at our Spring Conference in May, so we are hoping to translate that same success into our Convention,” Brungs said.

According to Beil and Brungs, the AVCA becomes a week-long community sharing of ideas.