Holyoke's John J. O'Donnell has been involved in Volleyball for almost 70 years. It was in 1944, during his Navy career, John first played competitive volleyball as a member of his ship/base team in San Diego.
Following his Navy years, John played with American Turners and the YMCA Church League in Holyoke. His interest increasing, John made contact with the USVBA (now USA Volleyball) and got started as an official.
John rose through the ranks from Provisional Referee to Regional Referee and, finally, National Referee in 1970. John officiated at the National Championship from 1970 through 1983. John was also a Certified Scorer during many of those years.
As an administrator, John was Commissioner for Region 1 (now New England), beginning in 1970 and by 1975 had more than tripled the number of individual and team registrations. John was elected to the USVBA Board of Directors from 1973 to 1979 and was appointed to the National Rules Committee in 1975.
John also served on the Referee Rating Committee, All-American Selection Committee, International Relations Committee and as an Incorporator of the Volleyball Hall of Fame.
In 1984, John reached the pinnacle of his officiating career as he refereed at the Olympic Games played in Los Angeles, California.
A few years later in 1988 John received the Leader of Volleyball Award from USVBA. Accolades for John keep coming. In May 2011, John was inducted into the YMCA Volleyball Hall of Fame at a special ceremony in Dallas, Texas.
For his continued support of the Hall of Fame's mission and his many significant contributions to the sport of volleyball, John O'Donnell is truly deserving of the Mintonette Medallion of Merit Award.
John enjoys retirement with his wife Pauline and children Debra, Lori, and Gary and his grandchildren Elyse, Jeff, Carolyn, and Corinne.