Born: February 17, 1972 in Fort Wayne, Indiana (United States)
Country: United States
Category: Male Indoor Player
Lloy Ball, the only United States male player to play in four Olympic Games for indoor volleyball, started playing the sport before the age of 5. His father, Arnie, would set up pillows along the living room floor and they would play one-on-one with a balloon.
Even though there was no high school volleyball in Indiana and Lloy was limited to playing only in the summers, he was able to make his first big breakthrough at age 15 by earning a spot in the 1987 Olympic Festival. He was the youngest player ever to compete in that competition. Due to an injury opening a spot on the roster, U.S. Head Coach Bill Neville called for Lloy to go with the national team on a tour to Japan in 1988, making him the youngest player to ever compete with the US National Team at the age of 16.
Lloy was recruited out of high school by legendary coach Bobby Knight to play basketball at the University of Indiana. Instead, he chose to play volleyball for his father at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW) where he pursued a degree in communications. He finished off his outstanding college career at IPFW with the second most career assists in NCAA history and in the top five for service aces. He also set school records for career assists (6,526), block assists (416) and service aces (167).
After competing for the USA in the 1996, 2000, and 2004 Olympic Games, Lloy was able to retire from international play in style, capping his remarkable career with USA by winning the gold medal at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Just weeks before the 2008 Games, he had led Team USA to the FIVB World League title, picking up the honors of Most Valuable Player and Best Setter along the way.
Lloy has had a long and decorated career with the USA in the foot steps of two other International Volleyball Hall of Fame setters, Dusty Dvorak and Jeff Stork. He earned the bronze medal at the 1994 FIVB World Championship in Greece, and he claimed the Best Setter award at the 1999 FIVB World Cup when the U.S. just missed the podium with a fourth-place finish.
Lloy also had a stellar professional club career overseas spanning 15 seasons in four countries to go with his National Team exploits. His first pro experience was with Toray in the Japan V-League from 1996 to 1999. In the early 2000s, he collected three European Champions League silver medals with one coming with Italy’s Pallavolo Modena in 2002-03 and the other two with Greece’s Iraklis Thessaloniki in 2004-05 and 2005-06. Lloy was tabbed Best Setter of the European Champions League following his first silver medal with Thessaloniki. After transferring to play for Russia’s Zenit Kazan, he earned the European Champions League gold medal in 2007-2008 in the same year he won the Olympic Games, followed by the silver medal in 2010-11 when he was selected as Best Setter. In total, he won league titles in three countries including four in Russia, two in Greece and one in Italy.
We celebrate Lloy Ball’s outstanding and dominant career as one of the best setters in the history of the sport by welcoming and recognizing him as a 2015 inductee to the International Volleyball Hall of Fame.