Born: April 15, 1917 in Czech Republic
Died: March 3, 2008 in Czech Republic
Country: Czech Republic
The late Dr. Frantisek Stibitz, who passed away on March 3, 2008, was a pioneer and leader in the establishment of international volleyball around the world.
Dr. Stibitz was truly one of the legends of the FIVB and world volleyball. He was one of the founding fathers of the Federation Internationale de Volleyball or FIVB, representing Czechoslovakia at the inaugural FIVB organizational meeting in April 1947. Dr. Stibitz participated in the FIVB organizational meeting held in Paris alongside representatives from Belgium, Brazil, Egypt, France, Netherlands, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Uruguay, the United States and Yugoslavia. That meeting helped pave the way for the FIVB to bring nations together and created the momentum toward the first World Championship events in 1949 and, ultimately, volleyball’s inclusion into the Olympic Games in 1964.
In 1950, Dr. Stibitz started working actively as a member of various commissions in charge of defining both the rules and the terminology for various disciplines, namely volleyball, but also basketball and judo.
Dr. Stibitz published “Volleyball” in 1958 and it was translated in whole or in parts into several languages, including Russian and Romanian. He authored 20 college text books and other publications while writing over 200 papers in Czech and foreign journals.
In 1966, Dr. Stibitz was named a member of the FIVB Rules of the Game Commission (RGC), which he then headed from 1978 to 1980. Among his many ideas, the FIVB approved his proposal for using paddles for substitutions to help speed up the match and avoid confusion. Today, the paddle system is still in use as a way for the referees and scorekeepers to track players who are entering and exiting the match.
In 1977, Dr. Stibitz submitted to the FIVB a first draft of a completely new guide which explained in detail all the rules and the terminology to be used while carrying out any volleyball competition. This document was formally approved during the 1980 Olympic Games.
In 1998 he was appointed as an honorary life member of the Czech Volleyball Federation and simultaneously inducted into its Hall of Fame. He devoted his last years to the establishment of the Czech Volleyball Hall of Fame.
In addition to his leadership roles, Dr. Stibitz was a successful coach in his own right. He led the Egyptian national volleyball team to two gold medals at the Pan –African and Pan-Arabic Championships in 1965 and 1966, respectively.