Born: February 18, 1944
Category: Male Indoor Player
Stanislaw Gosciniak, the great setter for Poland’s men’s national team, competed in 218 international matches between 1965 and 1974. A member of the Polish National Team for ten years, he was among the pioneer medalists for Poland as his team stood on the platform for the first time in 1967 to accept the bronze medal at the European Championships. In 1968 and 1972 he guided his squad to the Olympic Games in Mexico City and Munich. In 1974, at the pinnacle of his career as a player, Gosciniak and his team won the gold medal at the World Championships in Mexico. For his performance there, Gosciniak earned Most Valuable Player honors. At home, he was named Polish Athlete of the Year.
Gosciniak is known not only for his extraordinary eye-hand coordination, and his ability to rope quick sets from unlikely spots, but also for playing a very tactical game. With his coach, Hubert Wagner, Gosciniak developed a system in which attack is based on instant reactions to the defense. No more calling plays before the serve – a practice common on many teams. Instead, the approaching combination hitter on Gosciniak’s team shouted key words to Gosciniak, the setter. Gosciniak, meanwhile, kept an eye on the middle blocker and then chose the set that best isolated the hitters. The resulting record of wins speaks for itself.
In 1975 Gosciniak made a transition to coaching. He has coached Polish Club teams for twenty-five years. Four times his team has won the Polish National Championship. In 1993 he went to Pepperdine University as Assistant Coach for Marv Dunphy, who, himself, was inducted into the Volleyball Hall of Fame in 1994. There Gosciniak began passing along to younger American players some of his wily skills. Returning to Poland to coach his country’s Men’s National Team, Gosciniak led his squad to the Olympic Games in 2004. We honor Stanislaw Gosciniak today for his athleticism, his innovative approach to volleyball competition, and for his record of international success.