Born: January 15, 1950, (Brazil)
Died: March 13, 2018, (Cidade do Galo, Brazil)
Coach Paulo Roberto ‘Bebeto’ de Freitas will go down as one of the greatest coaches in Brazilian and world volleyball history.
Bebeto’s immersion into volleyball was sparked through a family tragedy. As a young child he was a basketball fan while his older brother could be found playing volleyball on the beaches of Copacabana. When Bebeto was nine, his older brother passed and he shifted his pursuits to volleyball in honor of his brother.
From that time on Bebeto dedicated himself to volleyball and played 19 years for Botafogo, his beloved Rio club. He represented Brazil at the 1972 and 1976 Olympic Games. Bebeto helped Brazil win the 1971 Pan American Games bronze medal and the 1975 Pan American Games silver medal.
Following the 1976 Montreal Games, he moved into the coaching realm and made a transition to living in the United States. He moved to California and served as coach of the Santa Barbara Spikers of the International Volleyball Association from 1977 to 1980, a short-lived USA effort at a professional league.
Bebeto returned to his native country and served two stints as head coach of the Brazil men’s volleyball team from 1980 to 1984 and 1987 to 1990. He led the Brazilians to the 1984 Olympic Games silver medal in Los Angeles, as well as the 1990 World Championship silver medal in his hometown of Rio de Janeiro.
After his second tenure with Brazil, Bebeto moved on to coach Maxicono Parma in the Italian professional league from 1990 to 1996. He accepted the head coaching position for Italy’s men’s national team from 1996 to 1999. He led the Italians to the 1997 FIVB World League title and a year later the 1998 FIVB World Championship gold medal!
Bebeto accepted another change in career direction in 1999 as he became the soccer manager for Brazil’s Clube Altetico Mineiro in 1999. After a stint as president of Botafogo de Futebol e Regatas football club from 2002 to 2008, Bebeto returned to his volleyball roots to serve as head coach of the Turkish club Halkbank Ankara.
For his contributions to the sport of volleyball as both a coach and player, we recognize Coach Paulo Roberto ‘Bebeto’ de Freitas and his incredibly successful career by naming him a 2015 inductee to the International Volleyball Hall of Fame.