MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (May 24, 2017) – USA Volleyball honored Margie Mara with its Harold T. Friermood “Frier” Award, the highest honor bestowed by the national governing body, during the Dorothy C. Boyce Awards Recognition Banquet Wednesday evening in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
“Obviously, this is a huge honor and to have this happen in Minneapolis, which is where I spent so much of my volleyball life and my family is here, is really special,” Mara said.
Mara joined the USAV staff in 1994 as its managing director and has since been promoted to senior director overseeing Region Services, Sport Development, Coaching Education and Officials’ Development programs – a vast swath of the organization’s outreach to the public in which she assists the CEO in the leadership, management and operation of the corporation. Recently, she also added staff liaison for the growing USOC SafeSport initiative to her job description.
Mara, who is a member of USA Volleyball’s senior management staff, supervises the development and implementation of USA Volleyball’s on-line registration system that reaches nearly every single member of the organization. She serves as the primary liaison to the Regional Operations Division and the RVAA Insurance Committee, manages RVA-related risk management programs and issues, and other functions related to supporting the regional leadership.
Mara, who is an FIVB internationally qualified scorekeeper after earning her USAV National Scorekeeper certification in 1994, serves as USA Volleyball’s staff liaison to both the Rules Commission and the Officials’ Division as she coordinates the meetings and communication with commission members and other groups. Further, she supervises individuals with responsibilities of developing and posting materials to the Volleyball Ref Training web site.
Mara also serves a key leadership role during international and domestic events hosted by USA Volleyball. She worked at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games as the athlete services coordinator for the indoor volleyball competition. And at the 2016 Olympic Games, Mara provided assistance to the U.S. beach and indoor volleyball teams with logistics and ticketing for athletes’ family and friends. In addition, Mara serves as a liaison with NORCECA, FIVB and ParaVolley at USAV-hosted international events. She has also served roles on both the NORCECA Beach Commission and the NORCECA Sport Organizing Commission.
Among her other duties assigned during various stages of her 23 years at USA Volleyball include developing the annual corporate budget and related materials in coordination with the CEO and Finance and Budget Committee, reviewing and approval of purchase orders, conducting quarterly budget reviews and working with the finance office to administer employee benefit packages.
Awards Presented at Boyce Banquet
Harold T. Friermood “Frier” Award: Margie Mara
Flo Hyman All-Time Great Player Award (Indoor): Elaina Oden
Flo Hyman All-Time Great Player Award (Indoor): Kim Oden
All-Time Great Female Sitting Volleyball Player Award: Katie Holloway
All-Time Great Male Sitting Volleyball Player Award: Brent Rasmussen
Donald S. Shondell All-Time Great Coach (Contemporary Division): Bill Hamiter
Bertha Lucas All-Time Great Coach (Pioneer Division): Debby Colberg
George J. Fisher Leader in Volleyball: Nancy Funk
George J. Fisher Leader in Volleyball: Dave Spencer
And to think Mara’s extraordinary talents may not have assisted USA Volleyball if not for volleyball crossing her path following college. She started her first year of teaching at a junior high in Lafayette, Indiana, in 1973, and was assigned to coach the seventh and eighth grade volleyball teams. She also began her officiating career as a high school official in volleyball, basketball and track. From that low-key initiation into volleyball, a long-term career in volleyball was born.
Mara eventually took what was envisioned as a one-year position at Regis University in Denver, teaching physical education. She was instrumental in getting the women’s athletic program off the ground a year later, and she became the women’s sports director and assistant volleyball coach. Two years later Mara became the assistant athletic director and the head volleyball coach at Regis. During the next five years, her team was the perennial champion of the Eastern Division of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. In 1983, Regis hosted the NAIA National Championships where the Rangers finished fifth.
During that time, Mara served as the first president of the NAIA Coaches Association from 1980 to 1981 and the group’s representative to the NAGWS Rules Committee from 1982 to 1984 and the USA Volleyball Board of Directors from 1983 to 1984.
In 1984, Mara took a position as assistant professor and coached women’s volleyball and track at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. During her 10-year tenure at Carleton, she taught a variety of physical education courses and served in various leadership positions.
After moving to Minnesota, Mara became active with the North Country Region of USA Volleyball, first as a player, coach and official. She was selected the North Country Region’s referee chair from 1985 to 1987 and later served as its commissioner from 1987 to 1994. During this time, she also held various other volleyball leadership positions, including assistant commissioner for volleyball at the U.S. Olympic Festivals in 1993 and 1994, volleyball sport advisor to the Star of the North Games in 1991, and a member of the NCD staff at the USA Volleyball Girls’ Junior National Championships in 1992 and 1993.
In 1990, Mara was elected as a Group D representative to the USA Volleyball Board of Directors, her second stint on the board. She was appointed as the vice president of the Regional Operations Division in 1992 and held these two posts until her hiring as the managing director of USA Volleyball in 1994.
Moving to a staff position at the national office seemed a natural extension of her experience as an athletic administrator who had a special love for volleyball. Mara has previously been recognized for her immense work within volleyball as the 1998 Dr. Neville “Doc” Booth Commissioners Award recipient, the 2001 George J. Fisher Leader in Volleyball award and the 2005 Glen G. Davies Referee Service Award.
2017 Awards Presented Earlier this Week
Karen M. Johnson Human Resources Award: Phillip Bryant
Glen G. Davies Referee Service Award: Ken Taylor
Best Regional Web Site: New England Region
Joe Sharpless Arbitrator Award: Gary Houghton
E. Douglas Boyden Media Recognition Award: Janie McCauley, Associated Press
Outstanding Junior Program Director: Heather Piccone
Outstanding Junior Male Coach: Mike Hulett
Outstanding Junior Female Coach: Nicole Stoll
Outstanding Junior Clinician: Nancy Paulson
Outstanding Junior Parent Service Award: Rhonda Heide
Outstanding Junior Referee: Rodolfo Marrero Rivera
Outstanding Junior Service Award: David N. Jester