USA Volleyball sitting players and coaches recognized by World ParaVolley on International World ParaVolley Day
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (April 24, 2020) – On its first-ever International World ParaVolley Day, World ParaVolley recognized five USA Volleyball sitting volleyball players, two coaching legends and two leaders today for their contributions to sitting volleyball in the organization’s first 40 years.
Women’s sitting players Lora Webster (Point Lookout, N.Y.), Katie Holloway (Lake Stevens, Wash.) and Heather Erickson (Fayetteville, N.C.) join men’s sitting players Eric Duda (Marietta, Ga.) and Brent Rasmussen (Omaha, Neb.) for their contributions as a player. Further, USA Volleyball sitting volleyball coaching legends Bill Hamiter and Mike Hulett were selected for the recognition. Further, John Kessel was recognized in the development, coaching, technical officiating and governance categories, while Joe Campbell was recognized for his years as a World ParaVolley referee and leader in the PanAmerica zone.
The World ParaVolley board of directors formally set April 24 as an annual day of celebration and tribute to sitting volleyball, recognizing the thousands of people who have made significant contributions to the development of the discipline over the four decades and 10 Paralympic Games since 1980.
A special Recognition Awards Committee was established to offer certificates to those who have had a significant impact for at least 10 years in their field(s) as players, coaches, referees, technical officials, classifiers and administrators. Citation nominations were secured through committee nominations and national federations.
Webster is one of nine women’s sitting players worldwide to have competed in the first four Paralympic Games with sitting volleyball. She helped Team USA win bronze at the first women’s sitting volleyball Paralympics in 2004, followed by silver medals at the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Paralympics. Webster and her teammates finally reached the top podium spot at the 2016 Rio Paralympics. Webster earned Best Blocker at the 2016 Paralympics and was the inaugural recipient of the USA Volleyball All-Time Great Female Sitting Player Award. She was selected USA Volleyball Sitting Player of the Year in 2004 and 2007.
Holloway is a three-time Paralympic medalist with back-to-back silver medals at the 2008 and 2012 Paralympics, followed by gold at the 2016 Rio Paralympics. She was the Best Spiker at the 2012 London Paralympics and was Team USA’s leading scorer at the 2008 Beijing Paralympics. Holloway has earned three consecutive silver medals at the World ParaVolley World Championships along with Best Blocker at the 2018 World Championship. She was chosen USA Volleyball Female Sitting Player of the Year in 2011 and 2012.
Erickson has reached the Paralympic Games podium three times including gold at the 2016 Rio Paralympics after finishing with silver in 2008 and 2012 Paralympics. She was nominated for a 2016 ESPY for Best Female Athlete with a Disability after leading Team USA to gold in Rio and earning the most valuable player and Best Receiver awards. Erickson’s resume includes silver medals in three World ParaVolley World Championships. She was selected USA Volleyball’s Female Sitting Player of the Year in 2013, 2016 and 2018.
Duda has competed in two Paralympic Games in 2004 and 2016. He was a starter for Team USA in four World ParaVolley World Championships (2006, 2010, 2014, 2018). Duda was selected as Best Receiver at the 2018 World Championships. He has competed in five Parapan American Games, earning gold in 2003 and silver medals in 2007, 2011, 2015 and 2019. Duda was selected as USA Volleyball Male Sitting Player of the Year in 2014 and 2018.
Rasmussen competed in the 2004 Paralympic Games for Team USA along with two World ParaVolley World Championships in 2006 and 2010. He earned gold at the 2003 Parapan American Games followed by silvers in the 2007 and 2011 Parapan American Games. Rasmussen helped Team USA win the Parapan American Championships in 2009 and silver at the 2010 event. He currently serves on the USA Volleyball Board of Directors representing sitting volleyball players.
Hamiter, the current head coach for the U.S. Women’s Sitting National Team and USA Volleyball’s sitting volleyball program director, is being recognized for his success as an international sitting volleyball coach and coach educator. He coached Team USA to its first-ever Paralympic Games sitting volleyball gold medal at the 2016 Rio Games after finishing with a silver at the 2012 London Games. Hamiter has guided the U.S. to three consecutive silver medals at the World ParaVolley World Championships. He also served as head coach of the U.S. Men’s Sitting Team from 2001 to 2010 and again in 2013. Hamiter was selected to the World ParaVolley Rules of the Game Committee in October 2019.
Hulett is being recognized posthumously for his success as an international coach and in the field of governance. He formed the U.S. Women’s Sitting Team in 2003 and coach it to the bronze medal at the 2004 Athens Paralympics, the first involving women’s sitting volleyball. Hulett followed that by leading Team USA to silver at the 2008 Beijing Paralympics. Prior to working with the women’s sitting team, he began his Paralympic coaching career as head coach of the U.S. Men’s Sitting Volleyball Team at the 1996 Atlanta Paralympics and the 2000 Sydney Paralympics. The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee honored Hulett with its 2004 Paralympic Coach of the Year.
Campbell has been the PanAmerica referee commissioner from 1994 to 2012 where he was responsible for recruitment, training and official assignments in the Pan American zone. He has officiated matches at six Paralympics from 1992 to 2012. Campbell is a World ParaVolley referee course instructor and referee delegate. He has been on the jury for the past two Paralympic Games and World Championships. Campbell has served as president of the World ParaVolley Pan America zone since 2012.
Kessel has been the director of development and board member for World ParaVolley since 2012. He served as a jury member at the 2012 and 2016 Paralympic Games, and the 2014 and 2018 ParaVolley World Championships. Kessel was the team leader for the U.S. Women’s Sitting Team at 2004 Athens Paralympics as Team USA came home with the bronze medal.