Born: March 28, 1970 in Vitória, Brazil
Category: Male Beach Player
Beach volleyball is truly an international game. But up until the early 1990s it was a very different story. The sport, particularly the men's game, was dominated by Americans, almost all from California.
The dominant tour in the world at the time, the AVP tour, had not a single foreign-born player. So, when a young Jose Loiola from the small Brazilian town of Vitoria and his partner Eduardo "Anjinho" Bacil started entering AVP events in 1993 they were a real curiosity.
Though the Brazilians were accomplished in their home country - Loiola was a junior national champion in Brazil and had competed in FIVB events - there was much skepticism on the AVP tour about their prospects.
It was impossible to be skeptical once you saw Loiola hit a volleyball. There have been many leapers in the history of professional beach volleyball, but perhaps no one has soared out of the sand higher and with more grace than Jose Loiola. With his whip of an arm, he could hit high and hard over the biggest blocks. With any skepticism snuffed out quickly, Loiola and Anjinho had a tremendous rookie season finishing in the top 5 in 11 events, including four second place finishes.
After his successful partnership with Anjinho, Loiola partnered with Adam Johnson and then with Kent Steffes. Loiola won 11 tournaments with Johnson and 17 with Steffes, including 13 victories in 1997, one of the best seasons in AVP history. Loiola was voted the best Offensive Player on the AVP Tour four times and was named the tour MVP in '97.
Loiola backed up his athleticism with quintessential Brazilian enthusiasm and fire. As he grew more comfortable on the AVP tour, he let his dynamic personality shine, exhorting the crowd to cheer him on after a good play and quickly became a fan favorite.
In the late 1990s, Loiola started focusing more on the growing international circuit. He won 20 times on the FIVB tour, primarily partnering with 2016 International Volleyball Hall of Fame Inductee Emanuel Rego, winning the FIVB tour championship in 1999 and representing Brazil in the Sydney Olympics. He and Rego were named by the FIVB as one of the two best Beach Volleyball teams of the ‘90s.
While Loiola will always be a proud Brazilian, he has truly found a home in the beach cities of California. He passes on his love of volleyball through his club volleyball program and coaching with USA Volleyball youth travel teams and High Performance (HP) athletes. Loiola is currently the Head Coach for Sara Hughes and Kelley Claes of the United States for 2020 Olympic Beach Volleyball Qualification. He is as passionate about beach volleyball as a coach as he was a player.
And now a generation of youth will look to Jose Loiola as their source of inspiration for playing beach volleyball. For his legendary career, we are proud to induct Jose Loiola as a 2017 Inductee into the International Volleyball Hall of Fame as a beach player.