Country: United States
After the United States volleyball team had failed to qualify for the 1972 Olympics, the United States Volleyball Association decided to establish a full-time staff, with a year round training center and teams. To make that transition, Al Monaco was appointed the USVBA’s first Executive Director.
As the Executive Director, Monaco was directly involved in hiring the first full-time paid women’s coach (Hall of Famer, Arie Selinger), the first technical director (Val Keller), the first full time paid men’s coach (Hall of Famer, Doug Beal), and implementing the first year-round national team programs. As a result, the US women became a world power by 1980, and perhaps only the United States boycott of the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow prevented the US from winning the country’s first Olympic Volleyball Medal. The US men’s team made a strong showing at the 1982 world championships before winning the Olympic Gold Medal in Los Angeles in 1984.
In addition to his recruitment of the professional staff, Monaco also established criteria for management and professional leadership of the USVBA and secured the first television contracts and major corporate sponsorships. Monaco also initiated the USVBA marketing and sales departments, created and edited the Volleyball USA publication, and organized the first FIVB World Men’s Junior Championships in Colorado Springs in 1981.
Monaco’s involvement with the United States Volleyball Association also included service as legal counsel from 1969 to 1972, membership on the Board of Directors from 1970 to 1973 and 1989 to 1996, and the elected position of Vice President in 1973, before his appointment as Executive Director.
Al Monaco played in 13 National Open Championships with the San Francisco Olympic Club and coached the San Francisco Sparks in eight USVBA National Open Championships between 1968 and 1975. He served as a clinician with the Armed Forces in the Philippines from 1973 and 1975, designed three volleyball courses while teaching at the Lenin Institute in Moscow between 1977 and 1979, and served as the organizer for the volleyball segment of the 1984 Olympic Games and the Federation Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) Congress.
Monaco served as a national referee from 1965 to 1983, and was awarded the Referees Emeritus Award in 1980. He also received the Harry Wilson Distinguished Service Award in 1982, the Leader in Volleyball Award in 1985 and the Dr. Neville A. “Doc” Booth Award in 1990.
Monaco lives in Lakeview, Oregon with his wife Loretta where he is a Lawyer and operates a cattle ranch. He has two children, Richard and Marie.