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Class of 2019 Nominees

Included among this year's nominees are six first-timers - Man-Soo Kang (KOR), Vasil Simov (BUL), Jurgen Wagner (GER), Gianfranco Briani (ITA), Peter Lange (GER), and Carmelo Pittera (ITA). From the list of 26 nominees, five inductees will be elected by the International Volleyball Hall of Fame Selection Committee, which includes a worldwide fan vote on VolleyHall.org.

Nominees by Category

 

MALE INDOOR PLAYERS


BORIS GUDEROV (BUL)

  • Competed in inaugural 1964 Olympic Games for volleyball
  • Captain of Bulgarian Men’s National Team for 17 consecutive years and played professionally for 21 years
  • Helped Bulgaria win bronze at 1949 and 1952 FIVB World Championships
  • Selected to Best Six Players of 1952 World Championship and Best Spiker at 1956 World Championship
  • Played in five European Championships, including silver finish in 1952

MAN-SOO KANG (KOR)

  • Joined the Korean National team in 1972 at age 17 and played in three Olympics – 1972, 1976 and 1984.
  • Helped lead Korea to an upset win over favored Brazil in group play of the 1984 Olympic Games.
  • Led Korea as a wing spiker to a silver medal in 1974, gold in 1978, and bronze 1982 at the Asian Games.
  • Won silver in the Asian Volleyball Championships in 1975 and 1979 and bronze in 1983.
  • Fourth place at the 1978 FIVB World Championships in Rome, Italy.
  • He won the gold medal in the 1979 Universiade in Mexico after two bronze finishes in 1973 in Moscow and 1977 in Sofia. 

DIMITAR KAROV (BUL)

  • Played in three Olympics – 1964, 1968 and 1972 – for the Bulgarian National Team
  • At age 20, youngest member of 1964 Bulgarian Olympic Team and helped squad to fifth-place finish in inaugural Olympic volleyball event in Tokyo. Bulgaria finished sixth at the 1968 Olympic Games and fourth at the 1972 Olympic Games.
  • Assisted Bulgaria to a silver medal at the 1970 FIVB World Championship in Sofia, Bulgaria

RUDI SCHUMANN (GER)

  • Competed for East Germany in the 1968 and 1972 Olympics
  • In 1968 he was part of the East German team which finished fourth in the Mexico City Olympics
  • Won the silver medal at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games
  • At 17, he joined SC Leipzig, helping his club to 15 championships
  • Won the FIVB World Cup in 1969 and 1970 FIVB World Championships in Bulgaria with the fabled final victory against the host team

JOSEF TESAR (CZK)

  • Led Czechoslovakia to gold in the 1956 FIVB World Championship in Paris after his team won back-to-back silver medals in the first two World Championships in 1949 and 1952.
  • Helped Czechoslovakia to three European Championships in 1948 (inaugural edition), 1955, 1958.
  • Earned European Championship silver medal in 1950
 

FEMALE INDOOR PLAYERS


MANUELA BENELLI (ITA)

  • Member of Italy’s National Team from 1981 to 1994 with 325 matches played
  • Considered one of the most titled volleyball players in Italian history, Benelli helped lead Olimpia Teodora Ravenna to 11 consecutive championships (from 1981-1991), winning six Italian Cups, one Club World Cup and two Champions Cups (1988, 1992)
  • Won Bronze at the 1989 European Volleyball Championship

MIRKA FRANCIA VASCONCELOS (CUB)

  • Helped Cuba to gold medals in the 1996 and 2000 Olympic Games
  • Assisted Cuba to gold medals in the 1994 and 1998 FIVB World Championship
  • Named Best Blocker of 1999 FIVB World Cup as Cuba won gold
  • In FIVB World Grand Prix, earned two gold medals (1993, 2000), three silvers (1994, 1996, 1997) and two bronzes (1995, 1998)
  • Played club volleyball in Italy since 1998-season and acquired Italian citizenship in 2004

BARBARA JELIC-RUZIC (CRO)

  • As an outstanding attacker, she led the Croatian team with her father Ivica Jelic as coach to three silver medals at the European Championships (1995, 1997, 1999)
  • She helped Croatia to a 7th place finish at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games and a 6th place finish at the World Championship in 1998
  • She was named Best Scorer at the World Championships in 1998, World Cup in 1999 and the Olympic Qualification in 2000
  • Played professionally in Japan, Italy, and Turkey

KUMI NAKADA (JPN)

  • Helped Japan to the bronze medal at the 1984 Olympic Games while still in high school
  • Remained one of the world’s top setters until her retirement in 1993, despite serious and chronic knee injuries
  • Helped Japan to fourth-place finish at the 1982 FIVB World Championship, fourth place at the 1988 Olympic Games and fifth-place finish at the 1992 Olympic Games
  • Played in 15 Olympic Games matches spanning 1984, 1988, 1992

VALENTINA OGIENKO (RUS)

  • Middle blocker on Russia National Team from 1983 to 1998
  • Helped Soviet Union win the gold medal at the 1988 Olympic Games and the silver medal for the Unified Team at the 1992 Olympic Games
  • Helped Russia capture three consecutive FIVB World Championship medals with the gold in 1990, followed by bronze medals in 1994 and 1998

ZHANG RONGFANG (CHN)

  • Wing Spiker on China’s 1984 Olympic Games gold-medal team, playing alongside Volleyball Hall of Famer Lang Ping
  • Led China to the 1981 FIVB World Cup gold medal
  • Led China to the 1982 FIVB World Championship gold medal
  • Coached China to the 1986 FIVB World Championship title, winning consecutive events in two different roles

IRINA SMIRNOVA (RUS)

  • Played in three Olympic Games (1988, 1992, 1996)
  • Helped USSR to the gold medal at the 1988 Olympic Game with a 3-2 win over Peru in the title match. Was the team’s youngest participant at just over 20-years-old
  • Helped Unified Team of 12 former Soviet Republics to the silver medal at the 1992 Olympic Games
  • Assisted Russia to a fourth-place finish at the 1996 Olympic Games after a five-set loss to Brazil in bronze-medal match

YANG XILAN (CHN)

  • Played in two Olympic Games (1984, 1988)
  • Helped China to gold medal at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games and the bronze medal at the 1988 Seoul Games
  • Led China to two FIVB World Championship gold medals in 1982 and 1986
  • Won the FIVB World Cup gold medal in 1985
 

MALE BEACH PLAYERS


JULIUS BRINK & JONAS RECKERMANN (GER)

  • In 2009 won four FIVB competitions (three consecutive Grand Slams) and the German Masters of the CEV European Championship Tour
  • They are the first German and European team ever to win a world championship title
  • Won the gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics. With this victory Germany become the first European country to win the Beach Volleyball in Olympics

ZE MARCO DE MELO (BRA)

  • Played in two Olympic Games, earning the silver medal at the 2000 Sydney Games
  • Three-time FIVB Tour Champion in 1996, 1997 and 2000
  • Captured 26 titles on the FIVB Tour, all between 1995 and 2000
  • Medaled in 56 of 94 events on the FIVB Tour, including 54 of 80 from 1995 to 2000
  • Earned $850,000-plus in career winnings on FIVB Tour
 

FEMALE BEACH PLAYERS


LINDA HANLEY (USA)

  • Finished fourth at 1996 Olympics when beach volleyball debuted
  • Won beach titles in four different decades
  • Won two FIVB titles and three silver medals on the FIVB Tour
  • Selected to California Beach Volleyball Association Beach Volleyball Hall of Fame in 2004

ELAINE YOUNGS (USA)

  • Earned bronze medal at 2004 Olympic Games and bronze medal at 1999 FIVB World Championship
  • Finished first in 12 of 100 FIVB events and medaled 40 times.
  • Became first woman to surpass $1 million in career domestic earnings; $1.79 million combined with FIVB events
  • Member of 1996 U.S. Women’s Indoor Olympic Team before transitioning to beach volleyball in 1997
 

COACHES


SIEGFRIED KOHLER (GER)

  • Longtime German coach, his coaching career began in 1968 at SC Dynamo Berlin where he stayed until 1990 leading the team to eight East German Championships
  • From 1971 to 1982 he was the assistant coach of the German National Women's Team winning the silver medal at the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games and two European Championships (1977, 1979)
  • He served as head coach of the German Women from 1985 to 1998 winning the European Championship in 1987, a fifth place finish in the 1988 Seoul Olympics and an eighth place finish in the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games
  • From 1999 to 2005 Köhler worked as a sports director at the German Volleyball Federation

VASIL SIMOV (BUL)

  • Vasil Simov competed for the Bulgarian national team participating in two European and four FIVB World Championships.
  • Simov led the Bulgarian women’s national team to a bronze medal at the 1980 Moscow Olympics along with a bronze medal at the European Championship in 1979 and a European Title in 1981 in Sofia. 
  • Under his leadership, the Bulgarian men's national team won the bronze medal at the European Championship in Berlin in 1983.
  • Simov coached his CSKA Moscow club teams to four championship titles with the women's team and three with the men's. 

JÜRGEN WAGNER (GER)

  • Jürgen Wagner is considered the most successful German volleyball coach with his many indoor and beach volleyball titles. 
  • In 2012 he led the German men’s beach volleyball team of Jonas Reckermann and Julius Brink to Olympic gold in London and in 2016 he repeated the triumph on the women’s side with Laura Ludwig & Kira Walkenhorst. 
  • Led Ludwig & Walkenhorst to the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championship title in 2017. 
  • Named German Olympic Sports Federation Coach of the Year 2017.
 

LEADERS


DR. ROLF ANDRESEN (GER)

  • President of the German Volleyball Federation from 1991 to 1995 
  • Served as President of the European Volleyball Confederation (CEV) from 1995 to 2001
  • Active in the FIVB from 1972-2002 including as Senior Vice President
  • As Executive Director of the Federal Committee for Competitive Sport, he was instrumental in shaping the German sport policy unit. He was founding director of the Leadership Academy of the former German Sports Association and played a major role in the establishment of the Trainer Academy in Cologne

GIANFRANCO BRIANI (ITA)

  • Member of the FIVB Coaching Commission and Secretary of the Technical Commission and Director of ‘Volleyball’, the official magazine of the FIVB
  •  Named as one of the ten members of the world commission charged with designating the best teams, best coaches, and best athletes of the 20th century.
  • Represented Italy in the FIVB World Congresses of '72, '76, '78, '80, '84, '88, '96 and in many European Congresses and Commissions until 1995.
  • Member of Italian national technical commissions, founder of the FIPAV Study Center, ISEF, Volleyball Central School and numerous specialization courses and seminars.

DR. GABRIEL CHEREBETIU (ROM/MEX)

  • Played many significant roles within the FIVB including former member, secretary, and president of the FIVB Medical Commission
  • He was an FIVB Technical Director member of FIVB Mini-Volley Commission
  • Former player and coach for Romania Men's National Team

PETER LANGE (GER)

  • Lange served many important roles both as an international referee and administrator.  He was active as an international referee from 1963 to 1980.  In total he refereed 489 international matches including the Olympic Games in 1968, 1972, 1976, and 1980 and several European and World Championships.
  • Lange served various roles in the European Confederation (CEV) including as member of the CEV Board of Administration from 1983 through 1990 and CEV Competition Director from 1992 to 1999. 
  • He was also a member of the FIVB Board of Directors and Secretary of the Sport Organization Committee
  • He chaired the European Sports Organizing Commission for ten years (1973-1983) while also a member of the European Cups Commission. He later served as chair of the European Cups Commission from 1987 to 1991.

ANDRE MEYER (LUX)

  • Served as European Confederation (CEV) President from 2001-2015
  • Meyer has served as Second Executive Vice President of the FIVB and as Treasurer
  • A former referee, Meyer filled many roles at the FIVB such as Referee Commission President, Finance Commission President 
  • ​Awarded the prestigious FIVB Grand Cross in 2016

CARMELO PITTERA (ITA)

  • Pittera was mainly responsible for the notable growth of Italian volleyball in his highly-successful and innovative role, initially, as Coach of the Italian National Volleyball Team and, subsequently, as Technical Director of the Italian Federation (FIPAV) for a decade until 1988, a position which allowed him to influence the culture of world volleyball including the development of MiniVolleyball.
  • He taught Theory of Movement and Sports Games at the University of Tor Vergata – Rome and has published numerous scientific articles on training as well as elaborated various theories on the topic during his research.