Born: January 23, 1870 in Lockport, New York (United States)
Died: December 27, 1942 in Lockport, New York (United States)
Country: United States
Category: Leader / Inventor
In 1895, just four years after Basketball was invented a couple of miles down the road in Springfield, Massachusetts, a twenty-five year old gym teacher invented the game of volleyball at the YMCA in Holyoke, Massachusetts.
William Morgan was born on January 23, 1870 in Lockport, NY. He was recruited by James Naismith to play football at the YMCA Training School (now Springfield College). After he graduated he eventually became the physical education director at the Holyoke YMCA. While there he realized that basketball was much too strenuous for the older gentlemen so he set out to invent a game for them to play. The first "Mintonette" game was played in December of 1895 and was a little different from the volleyball we are used to today. First off there was no limit to the number of people on the court at one time and second each side could hit the ball as many times as they liked before it went over the net.
After some fine-tuning, the game of volleyball made it's official debut eight months later at what would eventually become Springfield College. The game was accepted as a success, however, it was determined that the name should be changed. It was renamed volley ball, since that was the object of the game, to volley the ball back and forth. The name would eventually become one word in 1952. Today the FIVB estimates that volleyball is the most popular team sport in the world.
Morgan left the YMCA in 1900 to pursue various careers in business. He died on December 27, 1942. In 1985 he became the inaugural member of the Volleyball Hall of Fame.