McCutcheon Enshrined into International Volleyball Hall of Fame

By Bill Kauffman (bill.kauffman@usav.org) | Nov. 15, 2018, 1:46 p.m. (ET)

2018 International Volleyball Hall of Fame inductees
Hugh McCutcheon was enshired into the International Volleyball Hall of Fame along with Evegniya Artamonova Estes (middle), Gilberto "Giba" Godoy Filho, Hiroshi Toyoda (left) and Bas van de Goor (right). McCutcheon and Giba were unable to attend the ceremony.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Nov. 15, 2018) – Hugh McCutcheon, who led both the U.S. Men’s and Women’s National Teams to Olympic medals, was one of five legends of the volleyball community enshrined into the International Volleyball Hall of Fame (IVHF) on Nov. 10 in Holyoke, Massachusetts, the birthplace of the sport.

Joining McCutcheon in the 33rd annual enshrinement class were Hiroshi Toyoda (Japan), Evgeniya Artamonova Estes (Russia), Bas van de Goor (Netherlands) and Gilberto “Giba” Godoy Filho (Brazil). The Hall has now recognized 140 members from 24 countries since its inception in 1985.

“The fact that I’m standing in front of you tonight, it’s certainly all very humbling and a little bit surreal, so thank you,” McCutcheon said. “To my fellow inductees, my sincere congratulations. I’m so humbled to be inducted with this group of volleyball legends, you’re all amazing. I’ve worked with a lot of really great people, you can’t do these things alone. Thank you for the countless hours you committed to making our teams the best they could be. Thank you again for this honor, it means so much.”

Also honored was American Bertha Lucas as the Mintonette Medallion of Merit honoree.

International Volleyball Hall of Fame inductees are selected by past members and require 75 percent majority from the total votes received. Nominations are accepted from anyone in the world within the stated criteria.

For more information on the International Volleyball Hall of Fame, please visit volleyhall.org.

Hugh McCutcheon’s Career

Hugh McCutcheon started playing volleyball competitively at his high school in New Zealand in 1985. His aptitude and passion for the sport led to his selection for New Zealand’s junior and senior national teams from 1988 to 1990 but, in spite of this relatively fast ascent into International Volleyball, he felt he needed a more challenging environment if he was ever going to reach his potential.

McCutcheon got that chance when he was offered the opportunity to play collegiate volleyball in the United States at Brigham Young University from 1991-93. Hugh began his professional career right after college playing in Finland and Japan before returning to BYU to start his coaching career as an assistant from 1995 to 2001. During that stretch, the BYU program won two NCAA National Championships and McCutcheon completed two master’s degrees. He was also afforded the opportunity to start coaching in USA Volleyball’s High Performance pipeline, leading the U.S. Boys’ Youth National Team in 2000 and 2001.

This led to an invitation to work with the USA Men’s National Team during their 2001 World League campaign, spurring McCutcheon’s international coaching career as he accepted the Head Coach position of the Vienna HotVolleys in Austria. During his two seasons in Austria, the HotVolleys won the Inter-Liga championship, Austrian Cup and Austrian League championship.

While coaching in Vienna during the winters, McCutcheon spent his summer months as an adjunct assistant coach with the USA Men. Doug Beal, 1989 Hall of Fame inductee and head coach of the US Men at the time, brought McCutcheon on as a full-time assistant coach in 2003.

After the 2004 Olympic Games and a fourth place finish by the USA Men, Hugh was hired as the head coach of the program in 2005. During his tenure the team had a 107-33 record. They won the Americas Cup and the NORCECA zone championships in 2005 and 2007, won the Silver medal in the 2005 FIVB Grand Champions Cup, won bronze at the 2007 FIVB World League and the event title in 2008. It was the first FIVB World League title that the USA had ever won. The team then went on to win Gold at that year’s Olympic Games in Beijing - earning the first Olympic podium finish for the USA Men since 1992. McCutcheon was later named United States Olympic Committee Coach of the Year for 2008.

Following the success at the 2008 Olympic Games, McCutcheon accepted a new challenge within USA Volleyball by taking the head coach position for the U.S. Women’s National Team. The idea of taking the successful framework that had been developed on the Men's side and applying that to the USA women seemed intriguing. With the support of then USA Volleyball CEO, Doug Beal, the change was made and the new journey began.

Hugh McCutcheonWhile the results in 2009 were mixed, the team went on to post a 106-39 record during McCutcheon’s tenure as coach. In 2010, the U.S. Women won the first of three consecutive FIVB World Grand Prix titles. The Americans finished fourth at the 2010 FIVB World Championship and followed that up with a silver at the 2011 FIVB World Cup. The team went on to win the Silver Medal at the 2012 Olympics in London. McCutcheon stands as one of only two coaches in history to win medals with both genders.

During his time as a head coach with USA Volleyball, McCutcheon’s teams had a combined record of 213-72. In 2008 the USA men finished the year ranked second in the World and Olympic Champions. In 2012 the USA women finished the year ranked first in the World and Olympic Silver Medalists.

After fulfilling his duties at the 2012 Olympic Games, McCutcheon left the international arena to lead the University of Minnesota women’s volleyball team. In 2015, he was named Big 10 and AVCA National Coach of the Year after leading the Gophers to the NCAA national semifinal, a feat the Golden Gophers repeated in 2016. Now in the middle of his seventh season with the Gophers, McCutcheon has compiled a 178-45 record with the program.

In 2016 McCutcheon was awarded the New Zealand Order of Merit by the New Zealand government and the Queen of England. He is also the current president of the FIVB technical and coaching commission.

Bertha Lucas – Mintonette Medallion of Merit

Bertha Lucas, who turns 100 later this month, attended her 65th consecutive USA Volleyball Open National Championships in May 2018. She played competitively in the Opens until the age of 87 when she couldn’t serve overhand anymore. She still attends Opens as a spectator as the sport has become a family to her.

Created in 1996, the Mintonette Medallion of Merit is awarded in recognition of significant individual achievement. The Mintonette Medallion of Merit recalls the original name that volleyball's inventor, William G. Morgan, assigned to the sport when he invented it in 1895.

Lucas’ granddaughter Bonnie Bright accepted the award on behalf of her grandmother, saying: “Competition runs through my grandmother’s veins, whether playing volleyball at the age of 87 or playing dominoes as she does now. She wants to kick butt and win, and always with good sportsmanship and a smile. She thanks you very much for this honor.”