Mike Hulett Selected as USAVs 2012 Frier Winner

By Bill Kauffman | May 25, 2012, 12 a.m. (ET)

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

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (May 24, 2012) – USA Volleyball proudly announced Mike Hulett (Des Plaines, Ill./Great Lakes Region) as its 2012 Harold T. Friermood “Frier” Award recipient, the organization’s most prestigious honor, at the 67th Annual Dorothy Boyce Awards and Recognition Banquet Thursday night at the Hilton Salt Lake City Center.

“I never really expected such an honor, especially not the Frier award as the top honor for USA Volleyball, but maybe something for our Paralympic achievements,” Hulett said. “I am honored by USA Volleyball and the Great Lakes Region. As this banquet is themed Team Behind The Team, I believe this honor really is all about that. I have great support from the Great Lakes Region and my family. I have so many people in the room to thank, and it couldn’t happen without them. As Paul Sunderland has said before, it is not all about the wins, but the journey on how you get there.”

The banquet, presented by Molten and co-sponsored by Mizuno, is one of the signature events during USA Volleyball’s Annual Meetings taking place May 22-25 in Salt Lake City.

Other Boyce Banquet awards presentations, Miles Pabst and the late Dick Hammer received the USA Volleyball Thomas Haine All-Time Great Player Player Award. Hammer competed in the first-ever Olympic Games for volleyball as he captained the 1964 U.S. Men’s Olympic Team. Pabst was a three-time All-America First-Team selection in the Men’s Open Division helping his squad to two USA Volleyball Open National Championship titles.

Bill Neville and Jim Stone were recognized with the USA Volleyball All-Time Great Coach Award. Neville served as a U.S. coach in two Olympics, while making history as the youngest coach at the 1976 Olympic Games for Canada. Stone has been a part of U.S. coaching staffs in each of the last three decades and recently retired from serving 26 years as head coach at Ohio State University.

The George J. Fisher Leader in Volleyball Award were presented to Mary Blalock, Elroy Osorio and Donna Wigton. Blalock, who holds FIVB international referee credentials, has been a referee fixture at USA Volleyball national championship events for many years and has held several leadership posts within the organization. Osorio has been involved in the sport of volleyball since the late 1940s as a player, coach, official and administrator – including a leader within USA Volleyball for nearly 40 years. Wigton has worked in nearly every conceivable domestic event and several international competitions since the mid-1980s, including the 1996 Olympic Games. The Leader in Volleyball Award is awarded for significant volleyball achievements over a minimum of 20 years.

Gary Colberg received the Wilbur H. Peck Referee Emeritus Award. Colberg, a past Frier recipient, has a long and distinguished leadership tenure within USA Volleyball.

Past USA Volleyball Board of Directors chairman David Schreff was honored with the Morgan Award. The award, which honors service as chair of the USA Volleyball Board of Directors, is named after the recognized inventor of the sport of volleyball.

The Boyce Banquet presented its Intermountain Volleyball Association Salute recognizing individuals who have made a positive difference in the sport from the Annual Meeting host region. Individual Salute honorees included Tari Anderson, Norma Carr, Annette Cottle, Michelle Dodds, Jake Gibb, Tom Given, Scott Keister, Carl McGown, Kim Norman, Charlotte Odale, Alaina Parker, Lisa Peshell, Lori Richards, Marcie Schaap and Logan Tom. In addition, group recognition was given to the region’s Premier Volleyball League squad Utah Unity, the Intermountain Volleyball Association Board of Directors and the IVA region staff.

The Dr. Harold T. Friermood “Frier” Award, named in honor of the organization’s second president (1952-55), highlighted the evening of awards. The Frier Award is presented to an individual for long-time (minimum of 30 years), significant service to the sport of volleyball with at least 15 years of leadership positions at the national level.

Hulett has a long history within the USA Volleyball leadership, along with serving as a pioneer coach for the U.S. Sitting Volleyball programs. He began his Paralympic coaching career as head coach of the U.S. Men’s Sitting Volleyball Team in the 1996 Atlanta Paralympics. He repeated this task as head coach for the U.S. Men’s Sitting Team in the Sydney Paralympics in 2000.

In 2003, Hulett helped start the U.S. Women’s Sitting Volleyball Team. After some early struggles in international competition, he developed his players in a team of medal winners. Hulett guided the squad to the bronze medal at the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens, which led to him being selected the 2004 U.S. Olympic Committee Paralympic Coach of the Year.

After leading the U.S. Women’s Sitting Team to a fifth place at the 2006 Sitting Volleyball World Championships in Netherlands, Hulett mentored his squad to the bronze medal at the 2008 World Organization Volleyball for Disabled Intercontinental Cup in Egypt. Things only continued to get better in 2008 as the U.S. Women’s Sitting Team reached the title match of the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing before bowing to host and defending champion China in the gold-medal match.

Hulett owns and operates his own junior volleyball club named Adversity VBC, a club he founded in 1997. He also owns the building that houses eight volleyball courts in a northern suburb of Chicago. Hulett takes on the role of administrator, director, manager, landlord and janitor for the club. Outside of those duties, he coaches Adversity’s elite 18-and-under junior boys’ team.

Adversity is the perfect name for his club as it tells his life story in a nutshell. As a quadruple amputee survivor now confined to a wheelchair after complications from childhood diabetes, Hulett has endured so much in his own life and still continues to be a mentor, leader and example to all of overcoming adversity. In 1989, he endured his first amputation – his right arm below the elbow – after an infection ran through his body. Within the following seven years, three more amputations were performed leaving him without all four limbs due to complications from diabetes. Seven years after overcoming this adversity, he suffered a major heart attack.

Through it all, it is said Hulett cried just once: when he realized that he would never play volleyball again. He is quoted as saying “I didn’t want to waste my energy on something I couldn’t control. I had a choice. I could hide or I could move on. I got over my situation pretty fast,” Hulett said regarding his medical setbacks.

Hulett has coached collegiately at his alma mater Northwestern and at several high schools in the Chicago area. In 1998, he received a joint award from the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association and the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association. With the honor, he became one of 10 finalists for the Sports Hero Award honoring unsung heroes who promote sporting programs in communities nationwide.

Aside from his coaching, Hulett has served on the Great Lakes Region Board of Directors. He has represented the Great Lakes Region for junior boys’ volleyball at USA Volleyball meetings. Hulett was presented the Junior Volleyball Outstanding Clinician award in 1997. In 2001, USA Volleyball honored him with its George J. Fisher Leader in Volleyball award.

Upon the conclusion of the USA Volleyball Annual Meetings, Salt Lake City will continue to be in the news with the USA Volleyball Open National Championships in town from May 26 to June 2. Approximately 440 adult teams will compete in the Calvin L. Rampton Salt Palace Convention Center. The event, which is free to the public, includes skill, co-ed and age classifications up to 73-years-old. Further, Special Olympics and a sitting volleyball category will be held during the event. For information on the entire event, visit usavolleyball.org/events/7761.

This year’s Open Championships includes the inaugural USA Premier Volleyball League (PVL) championship, which is a grassroots professional league built around the foundation of USA Volleyball’s 40 regions. A total of 11 regions are expected for field teams in the PVL bracket of the USA Volleyball Open National Championships. For additional information on the league, visit usapvl.com.

Except for 1943 and 1944 during the height of World War II, the 83rd Annual USA Volleyball Open National Championships has been a mainstay celebrating adult volleyball nationally. The event is one of the largest national championships in any sport in the United States, and the Open has featured the sport of volleyball from coast-to-coast.

2012 USA Volleyball Awards Presented at Boyce Banquet
Harold T. Friermood “Frier” Award: Mike Hulett William G. Morgan Founder’s Award: David Schreff George J. Fisher Leader in Volleyball Award: Mary Blalock, Elroy Osorio, Donna Wigton Wilbur H. Peck Referee Emeritus Award: Gary Colberg All-Time Great Coach Award: Bill Neville (Pioneer Division), Jim Stone (Contemporary Division) All-Time Great Player Award: Dick Hammer, Miles Pabst

2012 USA Volleyball Awards Presented at Other Locations
James E. Coleman USA National Team Award: Ruth “Ma” Becker, Adelaide Packwood
Joe Sharpless Arbitrator Award: Karen Gee
Rebecca Howard Star Award: Deitre Collins-Parker
Outstanding Junior Program Director: Anne Slattery
Outstanding Junior Male Coach: Stephen Halberg
Outstanding Junior Female Coach: Patricia Meinert
Outstanding Junior Clinician: Tina Spann
Outstanding Junior Parent Service Award: Diane Amdor

2012 USA Volleyball Awards Presented on May 25
Edward P. Lauten Scorekeeper Service Award: To be announced
Gold Whistle: To be announced
Silver Whistle: To be announced
Gold Pen: To be announced
Silver Pen: To be announced
Glen G. Davies Referee Service Award: To be announced