SoCal Indoor Volleyball HOF inducts incredible inaugural class

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Group photo of the inaugural 25 Southern California Indoor Volleyball Hall of Fame inductees with Lifetime Service Award recipient Elissa Sato/Ed Chan, VBshots.com

I caught the volleyball bug in 1977.

Bad.

I played in every volleyball game I could stumble across, talked to any player or coach about volleyball that I could find and read everything about volleyball I could get my hands on, including Volleyball Monthly, which would eventually evolve into VolleyballMag.com.

There was almost zero coverage of volleyball back then. You couldn’t read the sports section for results in those pre-internet days. That meant that a few times each year, I would drive the eight hours from my Northern California home to watch my heroes play in Southern California.

So you can only imagine how much I appreciated the inaugural induction ceremony Sunday night in Anaheim of the Southern California Indoor Volleyball Hall of Fame, MC’d by Randy Rosenbloom.

The inaugural SCIVBHOF was held May 7, at the Highway 39 Event Center/Ed Chan, VBshots.com
The inaugural SCIVBHOF was held May 7, at the Highway 39 Event Center/Ed Chan, VBshots.com

It was a Who’s Who of our sport and brought back so many memories as I saw the players and was fortunate enough to take most of their pictures. Here’s the list of who went in at the ceremony at the American Sports Center, which also happens to be where the USA men’s and women’s indoors teams train.

Elissa Sato was awarded the Lifetime Service award for her nearly 50 years scorekeeping since the 1970's, and is most well known as the matron of the Sato clan/Ed Chan, VBshots.com
Elissa Sato was awarded the Lifetime Service award for her nearly 50 years scorekeeping since the 1970’s, and is most well known as the matron of the Sato clan/Ed Chan, VBshots.com

The 25 inaugural inductees:
(listed alphabetically)
Andy Banachowski
Lauren Brassey-Iversen
Craig Buck
Deitre Collins-Parker
Tara Cross-Battle
Bob Ctvrtlik
Marv Dunphy
Dusty Dvorak
Rolf Engen
Karch Kiraly
Ricci Luyties
Chris Marlowe
Misty May-Treanor
Kim Oden
Mike O’Hara
Doug Partie
Al Scates
Gene Selznick
Sinjin Smith
Jeff Stork
Steve Timmons
Paula Weishoff

What a remarkable collection of volleyball people!

Craig Buck (left), shown with Marv Dunphy, was able to attend after a long and challenging recovery from an automobile collision last year/Ed Chan, VBshots.com
Craig Buck (left), shown with Marv Dunphy, was able to attend after a long and challenging recovery from an automobile collision last year/Ed Chan, VBshots.com

Just being in the same room made me recall, for example, the 6-foot-9 Craig Buck crushing quick sets from incredible altitude, Debbie Green displaying amazing athleticism as an under-sized setter, Karch Kiraly and Bob Ctvrtlik refining the game with their two-man receive, Paul Weishoff dominating 1980 USVBA Junior Nationals and Steve Timmons excelling at his signature “red” back-court attack.

So Sunday was an incredible opportunity to hang out and photograph the sport’s biggest icons, the players who put their own stamps on the college and international scenes. And it wasn’t just the 25 inductees, the guest list included stars like Mike Dodd, Scott Fortune, Brian Gimmillaro, Elaina Oden and so many more.

“Fight On”, says table 16: Bob Yoder, Mick Haley, Wendi Dvorak, and Dusty Dvorak/Ed Chan, VBshots.com

The 1980s me would have been beside myself to be in the same room as so many volleyball luminaries. For that matter, the 2017 me was a little beside myself, since this may well have been the most significant gathering of volleyball greats ever.

Kudos to Michael Sondheimer for his incredible efforts in putting all of this together. For more information, or to donate, you can find the SCIVBHOF here

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