1996 Mintonette Medallion of Merit Award Winner
Biography (Current at time of award):
Sally Kus' record as a high school volleyball coach is unrivaled, as is her dedication to the sport. Therefore, the Volleyball Hall of Fame is proud to bestow on Sally the inaugural Mintonette Medallion of Merit Award.
Upon her arrival at Sweet Home High School in the early 1970s, Kus was called upon to coach girls' volleyball. With a background in field hockey and basketball, she initially resisted, and only reluctantly acquiesced. The volleyball "future" for Kus at Sweet Home, which she could not initially envision, turned into the most remarkable success story in Western New York scholastic sports history.
Over the next 23 years, Kus' Lady Panthers compiled a staggering record of 792 wins and 29 (not a misprint) losses. Those wins were the foundation for 15 consecutive Far West Regional Titles, 20 consecutive Section VI Class A titles and the first six Western New York State Championships awarded (1990-1995). With one exception, the Lady Panthers have ranked in the top 20 nationally every year since the rankings began; in 1991-92, Sweet Home stood at the pinnacle of those rankings as the number one team in the country. In 1996, Volleyball Magazine recognized the Sweet Home program as the nation's best in the sport's 100-year history.
The single most memorable accomplishment of Kus' squads was undoubtedly the 292-match winning streak that spanned eight undefeated campaigns from 1978-1987. The streak obliterated not only the previous record for girl's volleyball (93), but far surpassed the mark of 218 consecutive wins by the Baskin, Louisiana girl's basketball team (1947-53) which had stood as the longest win streak in history of high school sports in the United States.
Sally's individual honors include the 1987 National Coach of the Year Award from the National Federation of High Schools, the 1994 National Women's Sports Foundation Coaches Award, and a "Faces in the Crowd" recognition from Sports Illustrated.
Sally's focus has always been more attuned to the girls she coached rather than on personal awards, and she is most proud of the more than 70 full athletic scholarships awarded players in the Sweet Home program over the years and the six New York State Scholar-Athlete Teams (90+ scholastic team average) she has produced.