COLUMBUS, Ohio (May 22, 2019) – John Kessel was inducted into the USA Volleyball Hall of Fame presented at the Dorothy C. Boyce Banquet Wednesday evening in Columbus, Ohio, along with 23 other legends of the sport.
Kessel was honored with USA Volleyball’s Harold T. Friermood “Frier” Award, the top award presented by the national governing body for lifetime achievement. He has placed footprints all over the sport of volleyball in all three disciplines – indoor, beach and sitting – to the point that his impact has been reached around the world.
“I have been lucky to stand on the shoulders of giants, and reach just a bit higher only because of all their work,” Kessel told the crowd of 250 attending the Hall of Fame inductions, reflecting on his extended volleyball family. “Thank you for your influence in my life.”
Along with Kessel, Misty May-Treanor and Ron Von Hagan were inducted as All-Time Great Beach Volleyball Players. Bryan Ivie and Beth McLachlin were inducted as All-Time Great Players for indoor volleyball, while Bill Stratton, J. Raskin, Bjorn “Joe” Johansen and Bernie Specht entered the Hall in the same category under the pioneer division for the 1928-52 era. Kendra Lancaster was enshrined as an All-Time Great Sitting Player.
Pete Hanson, well-known in the Columbus area as the long-time Ohio State men’s volleyball coach who retired after this season, and Stephanie Schleuder were placed into the Hall as All-Time Great Coaches in the contemporary and pioneer divisions.
Steve Bishop and Gloria Cox were honored as George J. Fisher Leader in Volleyball inductees. Joel Reinford and Tom Sullivan entered the Hall as Referee and Scorekeeper Emeritus honorees, respectively. Lori Okimura, who term concludes as USA Volleyball’s Board of Directors chair at the end of June, was presented with the William G. Morgan. Danielle Scott, a five-time Olympian, was presented USA Volleyball’s first-ever Courage Award for her bravery in attempting to save the life of her sister in a domestic violence situation.
In the Junior Leadership Service Award category, Sherry and Kevin Wong were presented the Junior Outstanding Program Director award. Priscila Cunha de Almeida was honored with the Junior Outstanding Female Coach award, while Ken Levy was inducted as the Junior Outstanding Clinician. Kari Duncan and Colleen Houk were honored with the Junior Outstanding Referee and Service Awards, respectively. Trish Fay was inducted as the Junior Outstanding Parent.
Since 1985, Kessel has served as USA Volleyball’s director of sport development. Among his many successes at USA Volleyball include directing the VolleyVan program with four years of daily clinics in the lower 48 states. He created the SportKit DVD, a “start a program in a box” kit that now resides on the USA Volleyball website. Kessel has been instrumental in the Leave a Ball Behind program which has gifted thousands of lightly used volleyballs to programs such as Starlings USA and NORCECA nations.
Kessel helped spearhead the USAV Men’s Collegiate Grant program that doubled the number of NCAA Division III men’s volleyball varsity teams from 50 to 100 teams, and that growth triggered the creation of the NCAA Men’s Division III National Championship.
Kessel, a USA Volleyball Coaching Accreditation Program (CAP) Level V cadre member, has conducted thousands of seminars and clinics in all 50 United States and in over 60 nations. He has penned over a half dozen USAV books, including the IMPACT coaching manual, The Junior Volleyball Program Guide, The Coach’s Encyclopedia, The Coaches Guide to Beginning Volleyball Programs and MinVolley 4 Youth.
Kessel has put his stamp on the international realm as well. He has been an FIVB Level IV instructor since 1986 and secretary of the NORCECA Technical and Coaches Commission from 2000 to 2016. He is currently the secretary for NORCECA’s Development Commission and was the FIVB’s Technical Commission secretary for nearly a decade.
In the Paralympic world, Kessel has been the director of development and board member for World ParaVolley since 2012. He served as the producer for the 1996 Olympic Games indoor volleyball competition, as well as the 1996 Paralympic Games for sitting and standing volleyball.
At the end of his acceptance speech, Kessel implored the banquet attendees with one last message: “Don’t be a child’s last coach.”
2019 USA Volleyball Hall of Fame Recipients
John Kessel – Harold T. Friermood “Frier” Award
Misty May-Treanor – All-Time Great Female Beach Player Award
Ron Von Hagan – All-Time Great Male Beach Player Award
Kendra Lancaster – All-Time Great Female Player Award – Sitting
Beth McLachlin – Flo Hyman All-Time Great Female Player Award
Bryan Ivie – Tom Haine All-Time Great Male Player Award
Bill Stratton – All-Time Great Player Award – Pioneer Division
J. Raskin – All-Time Great Player Award – Pioneer Division
Bjorn “Joe” Johansen – All-Time Great Player Award – Pioneer Division
Bernie Specht – All-Time Great Player Award – Pioneer Division
Stephanie Schleuder – Bertha Lucas All-Time Great Coach Award – Pioneer Division
Pete Hanson – Donald S. Shondell All-Time Great Coach Award – Contemporary Division
Steve Bishop – George J. Fisher Leader in Volleyball Award
Gloria Cox – George J. Fisher Leader in Volleyball Award
Joel Reinford – Wilbur H. Peck Referee Emeritus Award
Tom Sullivan – Nancy S. Sharpless Scorekeeper Emeritus Award
Lori Okimura – William G. Morgan Award
Danielle Scott – USA Volleyball Courage Award
Sherry and Kevin Wong – Junior Outstanding Program Director
Priscila Cunha de Almeida – Junior Outstanding Female Coach
Ken Levy – Junior Outstanding Clinician
Kari Duncan – Junior Outstanding Referee
Colleen Houk – Junior Outstanding Service
Trish Fay – Junior Outstanding Parent