2002 Mintonette Medallion of Merit Award Winner
Biography (Current at time of award):
Kirk Kilgour, a true son of Southern California, was born in Los Angeles and raised in Manhattan Beach. He began playing basketball in high school, and brought his Junior college team to the Washington state championship. He then transferred his athletic talent to volleyball, initially playing in local beach tournaments, immediately earning his AAA rating in 1968. In the same year, he was spotted in the Southland Beach Tournament by Al Scales, Head Coach of the UCLA Bruins, and offered a scholarship on the spot. He vindicated Coach Scales' judgment by leading the Bruins to the Championship at the inaugural NCAA championships in 1970, and then again in 1971.
Kilgour was a member of the U.S. National Team from 1968 to 1975. He won a Gold Medal at the 1973 NORCECA Games and participated in two Pan American Games and two World Championships, in 1969 and 1973, and he earned a berth on the 1972 U.S. Men's Olympic Team. To pursue his avocation professionally, Kilgour went to Italy to coach and play volleyball in the Italian Professional Leagues, blazing a trail that many American volleyball stars would follow. He led his team, Ariccia, to the Italian League Championship in 1974 and 1975, winning tournament MVP and Best Spiker in 1975. He was also named All Italian in 1974 and 1975.
At the peak of his volleyball career, Kirk Kilgour was seriously injured in a training accident, which left him a quadriplegic. Despite the abrupt transition from his career as an elite athlete in the sport, Kilgour continued to pursue his career in volleyball. He was first an assistant coach, then head coach, and again assistant coach of the Pepperdine Waves from 1977 to 1985.
He next moved into a career as a sports broadcaster, commentating on the 1984, 1992 and 1996 Olympic Games. He worked as an expert on-camera analyst, commentator and interviewer for all of the major networks; covering NCAA Volleyball Championships, professional beach tournaments, Italian Professional League games, and, UCLA home games. In recognition of his contributions to UCLA, the University has hosted the Kilgour Cup each year since 1977, a competition in which the top two collegiate teams compete for the Cup.
Kilgour also pursued a parallel career as an advocate for the disabled. He worked tirelessly to promote better understanding of the athletes' needs and better facilities for the wheelchair bound. He served as Los Angeles City Commissioner on the Disabled and rose to President of the organization in five years.