Mintonette Medallion of Merit Award
Created in 1996, the Mintonette Medallion of Merit is awarded in recognition of significant individual achievement. The Mintonette Medallion of Merit recalls the original name that volleyball's inventor, William G. Morgan, assigned to the sport when he invented it in 1895.
Rob Slavin has been a staple of New England volleyball for nearly 30 years. In 1989, Slavin started the volleyball program at Sacred Heart High School in Kingston, MA and coached there until 2010. Over his career at Sacred Heart, Slavin accumulated 424 career wins, 14 league titles and 11 Mayflower League Coach of the Year honors. Slavin was named Boston Globe Coach of the Year in 1999 and Brockton Enterprise Coach of the Year three times. He has coached 16 All-State players and made 21 consecutive MIAA postseason tournament appearances including 6 Sectional Finals.
Slavin has been a member of the AVCA since 1992 and served on the High School All-American Committee since its inception as both the state and Region 1 Representative. He has also served in the National Coach of the Year selection process for the past six years and attended the AVCA Convention every year since 1994. Slavin currently serves on the AVCA Board of Directors as that organization’s Treasurer and High School Representative.
In addition, Slavin served as President of the MGVCA (Massachusetts Girls Volleyball Coaches Association) from 1999-2011 and currently serves on its Executive Committee. With Slavin at the helm, the MGVCA membership increased from 28 members to over 250. He also helped establish a website for the Association, a Hall of Fame, and an extremely popular annual clinic that features some of the top coaches nationwide. In addition, Slavin formed key partnerships with the AVCA, Reebok International, MaxPreps and the Volleyball Hall of Fame among others to ensure the future and growth of the organization. For his hard work and dedication, Slavin was honored with induction into the MGVCA Hall of Fame in 2006.
Slavin has given to the sport of volleyball as a coach and administrator on both the local and national level. For his years of dedication to improving volleyball in New England and beyond we recognize Rob Slavin as the 2014 recipient of the International Volleyball Hall of Fame Mintonette Medallion of Merit Award.
Joel Dearing is regarded nationally as one of the sport’s best coaches and he has the resume to prove it.
Dearing spent 22 seasons as the head women's volleyball coach and associate professor of physical education at Springfield College. During his tenure at Springfield College, Dearing’s record sits at 595-196, a winning percentage of .752, and he ranks in the top-10 in Division III history with a 728-310 (.701) overall mark in 30 seasons as a women’s volleyball coach.
Championships and post-season competition are hallmarks of the Dearing era. In his final year at the helm of the Pride, Dearing earned NEWMAC Coach of the Year honors and eventually led Springfield to the NCAA Regional Championship match before his squad ended the season with a 31-5 record.
Under Dearing’s reign, Springfield College had 19-straight seasons with at least 20 wins and never finished a season with a losing record. In four of his last 10 seasons, his teams have captured at least 30 wins.
In the spring of 2006, USA Volleyball, the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA), and Molten USA recognized Dearing with the Trailblazer Award for his role in establishing the Molten Division III Men’s Invitational Volleyball Championship in 1997.
Prior to joining the Springfield College staff, Dearing served as the director of athletics at Roger Williams University (R.I.), where he started both the women's and men's volleyball programs. While there, Dearing compiled an overall record of 174-136. His women's teams posted a 133-114 mark in eight years, while the men's squads had a three-year record of 41-22.
A USAV Level III accredited coach and member of the USA Volleyball cadre, Dearing has conducted clinics throughout the United States, in Aruba, Argentina, Bermuda, China and Ireland.
He is also the author of a pair of books entitled Volleyball Fundamentals and The Untold Story of William G. Morgan, Inventor of Volleyball.
Dearing served as a member of the Volleyball Hall of Fame Board of Directors and Induction Selection Committee Chair for a number of years.
Patricia "Pat" Demers
Patricia "Pat" Demers started her volleyball career in 1948 with the American Turners volleyball team in Springfield, Mass. She soon learned the game and participated from 1948-1970 in many New England Turner tournaments. Attending the 1951 USVBA Open tournament in Springfield gave Pat the bug to continue and expand her volleyball participation. She was soon involved in volleyball scorekeeping and by 1960 was scorekeeping for USVBA events.
Certified as a National Scorekeeper in 1973, Pat soon demonstrated her outstanding skills and was selected to serve as a National Scorekeeper Rater in 1976, a responsibility she continued through 1998.
Pat received her International scorekeeper certification at the 1983 NORCECA Championship in Indianapolis and she was selected as a backup scorekeeper for the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. She continued to score at various International matches in the United States, as assigned, until her retirement in 2002.
USA Volleyball celebrated the sport's Centennial year by hosting the USA Open near volleyball's birth place of Holyoke, Mass., at the Westover Air Reserve Base. Pat headed the New England RVA host committee.
Additionally, Pat was recognized for other significant competitions as part of two International matches hosted in the Northeast including the 1978 USA versus Japan match held in Springfield, the 1995 Men's USA Cup and the Student World Games held in Buffalo. Pat was cited as a Leader in Volleyball at the USA Volleyball Annual Meetings in 1987 at Berkeley, Calif. and in 2012 Pat was the recipient of the Nancy Sharpless Scorekeeper Emeritus Award.
Pat also served as the Chair of the Massachusetts Special Olympics program from 1980-1990 and worked at two Special Olympics World Summer Games.
For her continued support of the Hall of Fame's mission and her many significant contributions to the sport of volleyball, Patricia Demers is truly deserving of the Mintonette Medallion of Merit Award.
Currently, Pat coaches high school girls' and boys' volleyball at Agawam High School where her teams have had great success including many league championships and a State Championship in 2013.
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 children Debra, Lori, and Gary and his grandchildren Elyse, Jeff, Carolyn, and Corinne.
Richard (Rick) Lajoie
As a self-professed sports nut, Richard (Rick) Lajoie played soccer in college and was an avid tennis player. He began coaching youth sports in soccer and baseball after graduation from Saint Michael's College in 1975. In January 1985 he joined the Hall of Fame committee.
Lajoie immediately got involved with the history of the sport and researched the biography on William G. Morgan as the first Inductee and then did the same for nearly every inductee since. He has also served as the first archivist. In 1985, he traveled with Bob Gilbert to make the first official contact with the National Governing Body of USA Volleyball on behalf of the Volleyball Hall of Fame.
In 1987, he served as the induction chair and developed the "Induction Celebration" program that included the first Hall of Fame Classic, a players' clinic, the afternoon Induction Ceremony, and Induction Dinner. Lajoie continued for several years to further develop the Hall of Fame Classic, arranging for teams and serving as event coordinator.
As the Induction Celebration grew, Lajoie developed and designed the Court of Honor Award, the Morgan Award, and the Mintonette Medallion of Merit Awards for the Hall of Fame. He also wrote and directed the Hall of Fame Inductee videos including researching the Inductees backgrounds.
As the 1995 Volleyball Centennial grew nearer, Lajoie helped write the successful bid for the Hall to host the NCAA National Collegiate Men's Volleyball Championship and the USA Volleyball Open National Championships at Westover Air Force Base. He also worked with the NCAA to bring the Division I Women's Championships to UMass.
Along the way, Lajoie held several administrative positions on the Hall of Fame board including serving as president from 1990 to 1993. He also developed and wrote the Hall's first newsletter, NETWORK.
Outside of volleyball, Lajoie worked as a tax auditor for the Massachusetts Department of Revenue since 1982. He has also worked as a sports writer for the Springfield Republican Newspaper where he was awarded the Bill Keating Award for coverage of the Golden Gloves Boxing Tournament by the Holyoke Boys Club.
Francis G. Hamel
Francis G. Hamel, Fran as we know him, has been a strong supporter of the Volleyball Hall of Fame for more than 2 decades.
Since joining the Board of Directors in 1986, Fran has served the Hall of Fame in many capacities including Director, Induction Committee Member, Selection Committee Member, President, Special Events Committee Chairman and much more.
He is now officially an Honorary Board Member but maintains an active role in Hall activities including bringing financial support to Hall activities and hosting international visitors.
Fran has been instrumental in shepherding the Hall of Fame - Spalding relationship over the years throughout the corporate changes that have occurred. A 35 year Spalding employee, Fran has been key to the 20+ year support of Spalding as a major Induction Sponsor.
He has helped make numerous international connections through his world-wide network at Spalding such as assisting with contact of the family of 2008 Honoree Sinan Erdem of Turkey when efforts through normal channels were fruitless.
Fran & Spalding were also instrumental in the start up of the Volleyball Hall of Fame's Showcase of Champions High School Invitational tournament for both boys and girls. Following many of support for our collegiate men's Morgan Classic Tournament & Clinic and the Hall of Fame Women's Invitational.
A retired International Credit Manager at Spalding, Fran enjoys time with his wife Pat and children Jennifer and Jeff and grandchildren Jack, Lucas, Quinn, Chase and Ella. Fran is also active in the community including membership in the Beavers Businessmen's Club.
William "Ron" Collamore
Willliam "Ron" Collamore is a man of many names and titles. You might know him as Bill, Ronnie, or as a member of countless committees whose missions are for the greater good, and Holyoke specifically.
For his outstanding dedication to the Hall, as the longest serving board member, he is lovingly referred to as "the Pope" of the Hall.
Collamore has been a part of the Hall of Fame family since its inception in 1978. He received his first Mintonette Medallion of Merit in 1999 as a member of the original corporators of the Volleyball Hall of Fame and has had many titles at the Hall, including vice-president.
Collamore currently serves as a member of the Hall's Executive Committee but it is in his position as exhibit hall committee chairman that he truly shines - coordinating all displays and Hall of Fame maintenance.
In his spare time, Collamore, a retired Holyoke Fire Fighter, was the state chairman of athletics for the Massachusetts Association of School Committees, a delegate to the National School Board Convention, a member of the American Legion, among many others.
As the heart and soul of the Volleyball Hall of Fame, we salute William "Ron" Collamore with the Mintonette Medallion of Merit Award.
Alex Stetynski has a distinguished history of community service, but his most significant contributions are with the Volleyball Hall of Fame.
He was elected to the Board of Directors in 1992, appointed Chairman of the Induction Committee in 1993 and elected President in 1994.
The VHF's goal was to advance the sport's standing and raise its own profile and it took on the formidable task of staging the 1995 NCAA Men's Championship and the USA Volleyball (USAV) Championships.
Stetynski worked with Board Members to select event sites and plan events, and took the responsibility for securing the financial and operational assistance required. Stetynski met with local and national business, political and volleyball leaders to secure support for staging and marketing the events.
Attendance records were set for the Morgan Classic Tournament, Induction Weekend, NCAA Tournament, and a record 278 teams from around the nation competed in the USAV Championships. The thousands of visitors who came to the Centennial events made the world take notice of Holyoke, Massachusetts - the Birthplace of Volleyball.
Stetynski also initiated a fundraising program that secured grant funding from the City of Holyoke, and financial and in-kind contributions from businesses which enabled the Hall to complete a $500,000 expansion in 1998, with exciting new exhibits. He worked with political leaders to secure a $275,000 grant for a strategic planning effort for a five year development program, with design concepts for a landmark $27,000,000 facility.
From 1994 to 2000, Stetynski's efforts raised nearly $2,000,000 in sponsorships, contributions, in-kind donations and grants that enabled the VHF to complete its first major expansion, develop plans for a new state-of-the-art facility, establish an internet site and equip itself with modern facilities from which to continue its growth and development.
Kirk Kilgour, a true son of Southern California, was born in Los Angeles and raised in Manhattan Beach. He began playing basketball in high school, and brought his Junior college team to the Washington state championship. He then transferred his athletic talent to volleyball, initially playing in local beach tournaments, immediately earning his AAA rating in 1968. In the same year, he was spotted in the Southland Beach Tournament by Al Scales, Head Coach of the UCLA Bruins, and offered a scholarship on the spot. He vindicated Coach Scales' judgment by leading the Bruins to the Championship at the inaugural NCAA championships in 1970, and then again in 1971.
Kilgour was a member of the U.S. National Team from 1968 to 1975. He won a Gold Medal at the 1973 NORCECA Games and participated in two Pan American Games and two World Championships, in 1969 and 1973, and he earned a berth on the 1972 U.S. Men's Olympic Team. To pursue his avocation professionally, Kilgour went to Italy to coach and play volleyball in the Italian Professional Leagues, blazing a trail that many American volleyball stars would follow. He led his team, Ariccia, to the Italian League Championship in 1974 and 1975, winning tournament MVP and Best Spiker in 1975. He was also named All Italian in 1974 and 1975.
At the peak of his volleyball career, Kirk Kilgour was seriously injured in a training accident, which left him a quadriplegic. Despite the abrupt transition from his career as an elite athlete in the sport, Kilgour continued to pursue his career in volleyball. He was first an assistant coach, then head coach, and again assistant coach of the Pepperdine Waves from 1977 to 1985.
He next moved into a career as a sports broadcaster, commentating on the 1984, 1992 and 1996 Olympic Games. He worked as an expert on-camera analyst, commentator and interviewer for all of the major networks; covering NCAA Volleyball Championships, professional beach tournaments, Italian Professional League games, and, UCLA home games. In recognition of his contributions to UCLA, the University has hosted the Kilgour Cup each year since 1977, a competition in which the top two collegiate teams compete for the Cup.
Kilgour also pursued a parallel career as an advocate for the disabled. He worked tirelessly to promote better understanding of the athletes' needs and better facilities for the wheelchair bound. He served as Los Angeles City Commissioner on the Disabled and rose to President of the organization in five years.
Karen Keirstead has a distinguished history of community service, and was the key figure in the effort to organize a permanent Volleyball Hall of Fame. In the early Eighties, a Hall of Fame was the dream of the Chamber of Commerce's "Chargers" Committee to promote Holyoke as the "Birthplace of Volleyball". Memorabilia was exhibited at Wistariahurst Museum, creating a Hall of Fame, but no honorees were selected and no distinct Hall of Fame established. With the 1984 US Men's Olympic Gold Medal win, volleyball fever swept the nation and Holyoke and it was time to act on the embryonic plan.
In that same year, Keirstead was recruited by Allan Sonoda, Hall of Fame advocate and current director, to serve as public relations director for the Hall of Fame. Her first responsibility was to organize the inaugural induction ceremony, in 1985. She raised funds for induction, secured local and national support and invited USA Men's Coach Doug Beal to serve as keynote speaker.
Keirstead, tapping into her community service background and connections, recruited community leaders to join what would become a highly motivated, working Board of Directors. And, with the help of Mayor Ernie Proulx, things began to happen. A more comprehensive exhibit opened in City Hall in 1985 and the USA Cup competition came to town, with large crowds flocking to the Civic Center in Springfield to see the USA against the world's best teams.
After these successes, Keirstead and the Board of Directors set out to establish a permanent exhibit hall. The State was building "Heritage State Park" and a historic building was available onsite. The City of Holyoke granted money to the fledging museum and Keirstead and the Board worked on a plan for the new facility. The exhibit hall was opened in 1987 in the same building as the current facility and the USA Cup was brought to town again to help christen the new Hall.
During her tenure, Keirstead served as a Director from 1984-1987, President from 1987 to 1989 and 1991 to 1993 and Executive Director from 1993 to 1998. Keirstead's most important accomplishment was to make the Hall of Fame a professional establishment. She recruited an active Board of Directors, conducted orientation and training sessions, established meeting schedules, and rewrote the bylaws. She wrote job descriptions for officers and committee chairs, created standing committees, developed a goal-setting process and instituted financial oversight.
The culmination of her efforts was seen in the highly successful 1995 Centennial Year. She served on the steering committee that planned and implemented Centennial Year activities, including a Volley "Ball", the Men's NCAA Collegiate Championship, the U.S. Open Championship, the NCAA Women's Division I Championship and the American Volleyball Coaches Association annual meeting.
Corporators of the Volleyball Hall of Fame
The Volleyball Hall of Fame was conceived in Holyoke, Massachusetts - the Birthplace of Volleyball. United States Volleyball Association Board Member John O'Donnell and Peter Meltzer, who was Chairman of Officials in Region One, sought a means to honor the 75th Anniversary of volleyball. Both men lived in Holyoke and were members of the city's Chamber of Commerce.
Through their efforts, a series of clinics were held in Holyoke in 1970, followed by a major exhibition tournament in February, 1971, between the champion teams from Region One and Region Two. The tournament was so successful that it became the launchpad for the William G. Morgan Memorial Tournament and spawned a vision for a Volleyball Hall of Fame to honor the sport.
Inspired by the successes of 1970 and 1971, the Chargers committee of the Holyoke Chamber of Commerce began to promote Holyoke as the "Birthplace of Volleyball," and the USVBA designated the Holyoke Public Library as an official repository for volleyball memorabilia in anticipation of the new Hall of Fame.
The following year, 1972, the first William G. Morgan Memorial Tournament was held, and the Chamber of Commerce began the campaign for a Volleyball Hall of Fame in Holyoke to provide a memorial for the sport's stars and great moments and to promote volleyball around the world.
Officially, the Volleyball Hall of Fame was incorporated in 1978 by: Joseph Alfano, Richard Barthelette, Ernest Brunault, Joseph Cassidy, William Collamore, William Crean, Vincent D'Addario, John Davy, Robert Gilbert, Robert Grenier, Thomas Griffin, Clinton Hampson, William Hartt, William Keating, Thomas Kennedy, Earl LaFlamme, Norman LaRoche, George Leary, Barbara Martino, Peter Meltzer, Robert Mocarski, Claude Morin, John Nolan, John O'Donnell, Pauline O'Donnell, Ernest Proulx, Sidney Radner, Lou Silver, Gary Somers, Allan Sonoda, Michael Tierney, James Tufts, Barry Waite, Robert Woodill, and William Yeo.
The Hall congratulates the Corporators, who gave birth to a movement, a museum, a gallery, a Volleyball Hall of Fame unmatched in its ability to promote its sport around the world.
"It's a record unchallenged in sports," said Jim Coleman, Director of the National Team Center and 1992 Volleyball Hall of Fame Inductee.
At the 1998 United States Volleyball national championships, Richard Caplan stepped up to serve for the Kenneth Allen Volleyball Club of Chicago at the age of 75, marking his 50th consecutive national championship appearance. "Cappy" would return for two more national championship appearances, finally retiring from active play after his 52nd straight USVB open in 1990.
Caplan began his run in 1937, in Louisville, Kentucky, playing for the Lawson YMCA in Chicago, and actively played in all the USVBA Open Championships through 1992. (NO tournaments were held in 1943-1944 because of World War II.) He was the starting setter on the National Champion Chicago North Avenue YMCA teams in 1941, 1942, 1945, and 1947. The 1947 title was one of his most memorable highlights, as he helped to revolutionize the game with "back sets" to Whitey Wendt to upset the favored Pasadena team.
In the first 20 years, Caplan's teams never finished lower than 5th place. Throughout his career the awards and honors stayed with Caplan, as he was named a USVBA Open Division All-American in 1941, 1942, and 1947, and a USVBA Senior All-American in 1961 and 1969, as his Chicago team won the Senior division title.
Caplan was also a player and manager of the USA-AAU National Champion teams in 1942, 1950, 1955, 1958, and 1974, as well as a USVBA national official from 1962 through 1972.
A USVBA Commissioner of Region 7 from 1961 through 1970, he was awarded the USVBA's "Neville Booth" Award in 1980, received the "Leader in Volleyball" Award in 1961, and was awarded the "Medallion of Merit" in 1972.
Caplan was a member of the Olympic Volleyball Committee from 1973 to 1976, and received a special USVBA honor at Salt Lake City in 1988 for having played in 50 consecutive Open National Championships.
Sally Kus' record as a high school volleyball coach is unrivaled, as is her dedication to the sport. Therefore, the Volleyball Hall of Fame is proud to bestow on Sally the inaugural Mintonette Medallion of Merit Award.
Upon her arrival at Sweet Home High School in the early 1970s, Kus was called upon to coach girls' volleyball. With a background in field hockey and basketball, she initially resisted, and only reluctantly acquiesced. The volleyball "future" for Kus at Sweet Home, which she could not initially envision, turned into the most remarkable success story in Western New York scholastic sports history.
Over the next 23 years, Kus' Lady Panthers compiled a staggering record of 792 wins and 29 (not a misprint) losses. Those wins were the foundation for 15 consecutive Far West Regional Titles, 20 consecutive Section VI Class A titles and the first six Western New York State Championships awarded (1990-1995). With one exception, the Lady Panthers have ranked in the top 20 nationally every year since the rankings began; in 1991-92, Sweet Home stood at the pinnacle of those rankings as the number one team in the country. In 1996, Volleyball Magazine recognized the Sweet Home program as the nation's best in the sport's 100-year history.
The single most memorable accomplishment of Kus' squads was undoubtedly the 292-match winning streak that spanned eight undefeated campaigns from 1978-1987. The streak obliterated not only the previous record for girl's volleyball (93), but far surpassed the mark of 218 consecutive wins by the Baskin, Louisiana girl's basketball team (1947-53) which had stood as the longest win streak in history of high school sports in the United States.
Sally's individual honors include the 1987 National Coach of the Year Award from the National Federation of High Schools, the 1994 National Women's Sports Foundation Coaches Award, and a "Faces in the Crowd" recognition from Sports Illustrated.
Sally's focus has always been more attuned to the girls she coached rather than on personal awards, and she is most proud of the more than 70 full athletic scholarships awarded players in the Sweet Home program over the years and the six New York State Scholar-Athlete Teams (90+ scholastic team average) she has produced.