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William Baird

Born: September 21, 1925 in Johnstown, New York (United States)

Died: April 30, 2004 in Scotia, New York (United States)

Enshrined: 1998

Country: United States

Category: Leader

Biography (Current at time of Induction)

William Baird’s impressive career in volleyball spans over 55 years, including 30 years as a member of the United States Volleyball Association Board of Directors (USVBA). From 1958 to 1978, Bill served as a USVBA regional and national official. In addition, he served as a regional commissioner in the old region 2 – New York zone, from 1952 to 1963, before becoming the USVBA National Commissioner of Regions, retiring from that post in 1976.

Bill’s exposure to volleyball began years before however, while attending Springfield College, this led to him establishing varsity volleyball programs at Three Rivers, founding the annual Muir-Weiss championships in Schenectady, and conducting the New York State YMCA Class A Championships.

Bill’s devotion to the sport soon led to his taking on national duties as well, and he led the Association through a period of tremendous growth and change with an authoritative but calm voice. He served as the USVBA Secretary from 1971 to 1976, and Vice President from 1985 to 1989, before becoming President from 1989 to 1992. While much of his attention was focuses on the national and international issues in promoting the game of volleyball, Bill still found the time to serve the sport at home, holding many committee chair positions within the USVBA, including the All-American Selection Committee, Recognition Committee, Seeding for the open championships, Ethics Committee, Frier Awards Committee, International Affairs Committee and General Administration Committee.

By 1964, Bill was expanding his borders and conducted clinics for the US Army and Air Force in Korea and Okinawa, but his involvement on the international scene continued to grow. He represented the USVBA at the Olympic Games from 1972 through 1988, and in 1980 and 1984 he served as a member of the Federation Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) Jury of the Games. He also served as a member of the FIVB Jury during the 1987 Pan American Games in Indianapolis, the 1982 World Championships in Buenos Aires, and the 1979 World Cup in Tokyo, while serving as President of the jury at the 1990 Goodwill Games in Seattle. Bill was elected to the FIVB Rules of the Game Committee in 1976, and served as Secretary until 1980. With the FIVB, he was instrumental in writing the current technology for the rules of the game, serving from 1980 to 1984 as a member of the FIVB’s Board of Administration and, as a member of the FIVB’s Rules of the Game Commission, was responsible for the transition of the international rules of volleyball into English.

During his career he has earned many honors from the USVBA, including the Leader in Volleyball in 1965, the Golden Whistle Award for referee in 1970, the first “doc” Booth Regional Commissioner Leadership Award in 1976, the Referee Emeritus Award in 1978, and in 1984 Baird was awarded the Frier Award, the USVBA’s highest honor.