The IVHF’s Morgan Classic is the premier annual men's collegiate tournament, held at Springfield College, featuring the top NCAA Division III teams in the country.
HOLYOKE, MASS. - The top teams in NCAA Division III Men’s Volleyball will visit Western Massachusetts for the annual International Volleyball Hall of Fame Morgan Classic, to be held Feb. 4-5 at Springfield College. The event is named in honor of William G. Morgan, the inventor of the game of volleyball at the Holyoke YMCA in 1895, and the first public exhibition of the sport, which was held at Judd Gymnasia on what is now the campus of Springfield College.
This year’s event features powerhouses in men’s Division III volleyball, including top-ranked Springfield College, #3 Vassar, #4 NYU, and Endicott. Matches are 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. on Friday, with the winners from each match battling for the title on Saturday night. Match tickets are $6 for adults and $4 for youth and students and can be purchased online or at the door.
This action-packed weekend commemorates volleyball’s heritage by celebrating its founder and recognizing the talent of some of the top college athletes in the country.
"The Morgan Classic is a special event for the Hall of Fame and Western Massachusetts as we pay homage to the founder of our sport and the role Springfield College played in shaping the game,” says IVHF Executive Director George Mulry. “This is one of those not-to-be-missed events in our area where you can see the power and fun of top level collegiate volleyball during the Friday and Saturday matches.”
Springfield College is in the unique position to both host the prestigious event as well as come into the weekend as the top-ranked team in the country. Head coach Charlie Sullivan understands the significance of both of these things.
“The history of the Morgan Classic is like none other,” he said. “The tournament dates back more than 20 years and has included some of the top college teams and players in the game, including several Olympians. This year is no exception, with three of the top four teams being ranked in the top five nationally. It’s an honor to collaborate with the International Volleyball Hall of Fame to showcase this college men’s volleyball event to the community of New England.”
The history of the tournament and the sport isn’t lost on the participating teams either.
“The Morgan Classic is always one of the most memorable parts of our season,” said Vassar head coach Richard Gary. “When our players walk through the [International Volleyball Hall of Fame], they connect to the long history of the sport, some of the great stories of achievement, and they come away energized and intent on playing hard.”
Jose Pina, the head coach at NYU, couldn't agree more.
"Being part of the Morgan Classic is always an honor to our program," he said. "To participate in all of the activities that go along with it and to visit the Volleyball Hall of Fame is always a highlight for our staff. Just being invited to be part of the wonderful tradition that Springfield College presents yearly to three other programs makes for a singular experience for our student athletes. To see and read about the history of the sport we love and to then go out and compete at Springfield College is an unforgettable experience."
William G. Morgan invented the game of volleyball at the Holyoke YMCA in 1895. While he first named the game “Mintonette,” it was given its official and more familiar name during its first public exhibition at a conference of YMCA Physical Directors held at Judd Gymnasia on the campus of the International YMCA Training School – now Springfield College. It was at this conference that a professor of the YMCA Training School called attention to the volleying action of the ball and suggested a two-word version of its present name “Volley Ball”. And it stuck.
Traditionally, the Morgan Classic weekend features many more events, including a lunch with all of the teams as well as clinics run by the teams for coaches and players of all ages, but Covid-19 considerations have postponed these events for 2022. The matches are still open to spectators, and the International Volleyball Hall of Fame will be open 10am - 3pm on February 4 & 5 for fans to stop by and visit. All attendees of the match get into the Hall for free with their match ticket.
For coverage of the IVHF Morgan Classic and related events, be sure to follow @ivhf_events on social media and visit https://www.volleyhall.org/morgan-classic.html.
Notable players and coaches who have participated in the Morgan Classic:
Lloy Ball - IPFW 1993 (IVHF Inductee & 2008 Olympic Gold Medal)
Scott Touzinsky - 2001 Long Beach (USMNT & 2008 Olympic Gold Medal)
David Lee - 2001 Long Beach (USMNT, 2008 Olympic Gold Medal & 2016 Olympic Bronze Medal)
David McKienzie - 2001 Long Beach (USMNT)
Casey Patterson - 2005 BYU (Pro Beach Player & 2016 Olympian)
Matt Anderson - 2006 Penn State (USMNT & 2016 Olympic Bronze Medal)
Max Holt - 2006 Penn State (USMNT & 2016 Olympic Bronze Medal)
AJ Nally - 2010 Springfield (D3 Player of the Year & USMNT)
Jeff Menzel - 2010 UCSB (USMNT)
Thomas Jaeschke - 2013 Loyola (USMNT & 2016 Olympic Bronze Medal)
Cody Kessel - 2014 Princeton (Professional Indoor Player & 2020/2021 German Bundesliga Champion)
Arnie Ball, Al Scates, Don Shondell, Mark Pavlik, Tom Tait, Pete Hanson, Bill Ferguson, Alan Knipe, Charlie Sullivan, and Aldis Berzins.
About the IVHF
Located in Holyoke, Massachusetts - the birthplace of volleyball - the International Volleyball Hall of Fame is an independent non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to preserving, honoring, and promoting the game of volleyball at every level – men and women, amateur and professional players, coaches and contributors, both domestically and internationally. The Hall of Fame museum is home to more than 150 inductees from 25 countries and over 5,000 square feet of volleyball history. Thousands of people visit the Hall of Fame museum each year to learn about the game and experience the exhibits. Best known for its annual Induction Celebration honoring the game’s elite, the IVHF also operates over a dozen youth, high school, and collegiate competitions and programs annually. You can be a part of honoring, preserving and promoting the history of volleyball by joining the IVHF Membership Program. To learn more, visit https://www.volleyhall.org/membership.html
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