Born: May 4, 1915
Died: May 1, 2000 in Elmhurst, Illinois (USA)
Country: United States
Category: Male Indoor Player
Harold "Whitey" Wendt started playing volley/ball as a boy in Chicago. He played first with Duncan YMCA (1936-1937) and later with North Avenue Larrabee YMCA (1939-1952). His playing position was attacker.
Wendt competed in his first National Championship in 1936, with his Duncan YMCA team, placing third. In 1937, he led Duncan to a National upset victory defeating the favored Houston YMCA team. In 1938, Wendt and many of the Duncan YMCA players moved their base to the North Avenue Larrabee YMCA. Playing with North Avenue Larrabee (NAL), Wendt was named First Team All American in 1940. In 1941 and 1942, NAL won the National Championships, and Wendt was named MVP of both tournaments and First Team All American.
While there were no nationals during World War II, in 1945 the leading pre-war teams played under the banner of the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) in a USVBA sanctioned tournament. NAL won this first post-war tourney, with Wendt named MVP and First Team All American. In 1946, Wendt was again named First Team All American.
In 1947, NAL won their final National Championship title. Wendt continued to attend the National Championships with NAL from 1949 to 1952 and earned his final First Team All American designation in 1951.
In 1948, in celebration of the Olympic Games in London, Wendt led the U.S. National Team on a goodwill tour of Europe, winning all but one of the matches against the National Teams of France, Italy, Belgium, Czechoslovakia and Holland. This achievement inaugurated a new era of international play as the U.S. entered the world arena. Wendt was named MVP of the tour. Later, Wendt was honored with the USVBA All-Time Great Player award in 1962, at which time, he was inducted into the Helms Foundation Hall of Fame.
The secret of Wendt's success was a special play called the "windmill," which required making a very high jump and a split second decision to spike the ball down hard. As one of the greatest spikers of his generation, Harold "Whitey" Wendt is being inducted into the Volleyball Hall of Fame in the Players category.