COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Sept. 29, 2023) – USA Volleyball was saddened to learn of the death of former U.S. Men’s National Team athlete and Starlings Volleyball, USA founder Byron Shewman, 76, on Aug. 20.
Shewman died after a battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
Shewman played volleyball in Southern California at Mar Vista High School, Southwestern Junior College and San Diego State.
Shewman played with the U.S. Men’s National Team from 1971-75. He played on the U.S. team that lost to Cuba at the 1975 NORCECA Championship final, missing the chance to qualify for the Montreal 1976 Olympic Games.
After his friend Kirk Kilgour was paralyzed in a 1976 Italian League training accident, Shewman dedicated his life to the service of others and volunteered for a variety of international causes.
In 1996, Shewman began coaching a girls volleyball team in inner-city San Diego with Olympic volleyball player Kim Oden. That was the beginning of Starlings Volleyball, USA, a non-profit organization that believes every girl deserves the opportunity to play club volleyball, regardless of socioeconomic background or level of play.
Starlings has grown to become the nation’s largest junior volleyball club, serving more than 3,000 girls in more than 75 clubs.
“Byron had this sense of right and wrong that was unbelievably admirable,” Former USA Volleyball CEO Doug Beal told the San Diego Union Tribune. “So many people would agree with what he thought, then go on with their lives, and he would stop whatever he was doing in his life and act on it.
“He always thought, ‘Somebody needs to do this. I’m going to do it.’
“People say living a valuable life is about how many people you touch and affect. By that measure, he had an extremely valuable life.”