2006 Player of the Year Tyler Hildebrand Named to LBSU Wall of Honor

  0 Braden Keith | March 07th, 2017 | College - Men's Indoor, MPSF, News

Long Beach State has announced the 5 men who will join their Wall of Honor in 2017, joining the current 22 members during an induction ceremony on March 27th.

Included on the list is current associate head coach Tyler Hildebrand, who has been a pillar of the 49ers’ program for more than a decade. As a freshman, the setter was named the MPSF Freshman of the Year and AVCA National Newcomer of the Year. A season later, he set the team to an NCAA runner-up finish.

In 2006, he was named the Volleyball Magazine National Plyaer of the Year and retired as the school’s all-time leader in assists with 6,651. After finishing his collegiate career, he returned to join the coaching staff at LBSU.

“Tyler has been such a huge part of Long Beach State men’s volleyball on so many levels and is very well-deserving of this honor,” Current Long Beach State head coach, as well as former player and inaugural Wall of Honor member, Alan Knipe said. “As a player he was truly special, not only in his ability to set the ball, but his ability to play the game with passion and to get his teammates to play better because he was on the floor with them. He truly defines what it is to be a 49er. He’s committed his playing career and his young coaching career to making sure that Long Beach State is the best it can be.”

The Full Wall of Honor Class of 2017

  • Tyler Hildebrand
  • David McKienzie
  • Randy Sandefur
  • Brett Schroeder
  • Richard Valbuena

Other Members of the Wall of Honor

  • Mike Brawley
  • Rocky Ciarelli
  • Brent Hilliard
  • Tom Hoff
  • Mark Kerins
  • Alan Knipe
  • Dodge Parker
  • Chris Seiffert
  • Jason Stimpfig
  • Brett Winslow
  • Michael Barton
  • Mike D’Alessandro
  • Tim Hill
  • Matt Lyles
  • Jim Polster
  • Ray Ratelle
  • Darell Auxier
  • David Lee
  • Miles Pabst
  • Scott Touzinsky
  • Tom Ashen
  • Tom Thornton

Full Press Release, With Bios of all 5 Inductees, Courtesy LSBU Athletics:

LONG BEACH – The Long Beach State men’s volleyball program has announced the addition of five members to the Wall of Honor. The current 22 members welcome the 2017 class of Tyler Hildebrand, David McKienzie, Randy Sandefur, Brett Schroeder, and Richard Valbuena.

“We are all very fortunate and honored to have these men as part of the 49er Volleyball family,” Harold Noriega, who played for LBSU from 1978-79, stated. “Richard Valbuena was a four-year starter and one of the cornerstones of the program, 2012 Olympian David McKienzie, 1991 National Champion Brett Schroeder, USA National Team member and 2006 National Player of the Year Tyler Hildebrand, and our first head coach and founder of the 49ers Men’s Volleyball, program, the late Randy Sandefur – all five are more than deserving to join the Wall of Honor.”

The two major induction criteria for the Wall of Honor, as outlined by the committee are as follows: the player must have represented Long Beach State men’s volleyball with unparalleled success or achievement and truly embodied the passion, commitment, and loyalty that encompass a 49er men’s volleyball player.

“These five guys are the mold of what a 49er is,” Former Long Beach State Volleyball player (1977-79) and inaugural Wall of Honor inductee, Rocky Ciarelli said. “They all work very hard and are very competitive. They just wanted to win and would go out and do whatever it took – practice hard, do extra work. That’s the key to being a 49er.”

Each member of the class of 2017 has left his mark on the Long Beach State men’s volleyball program in his own way. Both on and off the court, these five individuals have demonstrated a commitment to the program that has far exceeded expectations helping the Beach rise to one of the premier volleyball programs in the country.

Tyler Hildebrand has been a member of the Long Beach State men’s volleyball program since he stepped foot on the Pyramid court in 2003 as a freshman setter. He quickly established himself as a staple of the Beach men’s volleyball program winning MPSF Freshman of the Year and AVCA National Newcomer of the Year in his rookie campaign. As a sophomore, Hildebrand led the Beach to the National Stage where they were runner up for the national title.

Hildebrand finished his collegiate career at LBSU as a three-time AVCA and Volleyball Magazine First Team All-American, a three-time MPSF Tournament Finalist, the 2006 Volleyball Magazine National Player of the Year, and as Long Beach State’s all-time assists leader with 6,651.

Following his collegiate career and professional career, Hildebrand returned to his alma mater in a coaching capacity and has since been a fixture on the LBSU bench mentoring the team he once led on the court. As a volunteer coach, assistant coach, and associate head coach, Hildebrand has worked closely with several All-Americans including Connor Olbright, Taylor Crabb, Taylor Gregory, TJ DeFalco, Josh Tuaniga, and Andrew Sato. Under Hildebrand’s tutelage, Crabb went on to garner 2013 AVCA National Player of the Year.

“Tyler has been such a huge part of Long Beach State men’s volleyball on so many levels and is very well-deserving of this honor,” Current Long Beach State head coach, as well as former player and inaugural Wall of Honor member, Alan Knipe said. “As a player he was truly special, not only in his ability to set the ball, but his ability to play the game with passion and to get his teammates to play better because he was on the floor with them. He truly defines what it is to be a 49er. He’s committed his playing career and his young coaching career to making sure that Long Beach State is the best it can be.”

David McKienzie donned the Black and Gold from 1998-2001 and made an immediate impact. A 1999 Second Team All-American and NCAA All-Tournament Team selection, McKienzie pounded out 58 kills against BYU to break an NCAA Division I record. He was a two-time First Team All-American after earning the honors as a junior and a senior. He led the Beach in kills in three of his four years and holds the record for most 40-plus kill matches. McKienzie finished his collegiate career with 1,641 career kills to rank sixth all-time and his 5.26 kills per set average is good for fourth in program history.

The former LBSU opposite went on to play internationally joining the U.S. National Team in 2001 and helping the team win the NORCECA Zone Championships in 2003. Additionally, McKienzie won two gold medals at the America’s Cup, the NORCECA Continental Championship, and the FIVB World Grand Champions Cup.

“David McKienzie had an amazing volleyball career during his time at Long Beach State,” Knipe said of his former player. “He was clearly one of the best opposites in the college game at that time – breaking the NCAA kill record in a match at BYU that went five sets. He sat out most of the fourth set because he was sick with the flu, so who only knows what the kill number would have been if he’d played in the entire match.

“He was one of the most gifted athletes that has ever played in our program. It was so rewarding for me to see David progress from a young college player through the professional ranks and get the opportunity to coach David again in the Olympics in 2012. Hands down, he is one of the great 49ers.”

The late Randy Sandefur is the reason for Long Beach State men’s volleyball. The former head coach was the catalyst that got the program off the ground.

“We wouldn’t be where we are today without (Randy),” Ciarelli said. “He took the team to the Final Four for the first time. He’s a pioneer. Without him, maybe none of this happens. As a Long Beach State men’s volleyball player, we owe him for getting this whole thing started.”

A 1999 inductee of the Long Beach State Athletics Hall of Fame, Sandefur not only started the program, but also led the Beach to their first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance in 1970 where they finished second. Sandefur led his team back to the NCAA Tournament in 1973 were they were the runners up with a record of 15-3.

“We all feel a huge debt of gratitude to Coach Sandefur,” Knipe said. “He was very much the Godfather of Long Beach State men’s volleyball. Without Randy’s vision and work ethic, none of us would have ever had the opportunity to do what we do today at this university. Without a doubt, we’re all excited to see Randy go in. I know his former players and family will be pleased about this.”

Sandefur retired from coaching the Beach after five years with an overall record of 35-29, but always followed Long Beach State men’s volleyball.

“One of my favorite things about Coach Sandefur was years after he was done coaching, and after a few head coaches had come and gone between Coach Sandefur and myself, I would still get voice messages from him on my voice mail,” Knipe said with a smile. “His calls usually came really early, like 5:30 or 6 o’clock in the morning, lending the support from afar; just letting us know that he was keeping tabs on what was going on with the program, and always letting us know how proud he was of what we were doing.”

Sandefur set the standard for 49er men’s volleyball. Following in his footsteps, future Beach coaches and players alike, rose to the occasion and kept Long Beach State’s program, not only relevant, but a national powerhouse which would go on to make eight NCAA Appearances, win five conference titles, and capture one national championship.

Brett Schroeder, who was a member of the 1991 National Championship team, began his career at the Beach in 1989 and put together a string of four solid years in which he started each year in a different position.

The versatile Schroeder was the National Championship team’s setter as he averaged 17.82 assists per set that year to rank fifth in the single-match annals. Despite playing a multitude of positions, Schroeder tallied a total of 1,706 career assists and 681 career digs to rank in the top 10 all-time in both categories.

During his first two years at Long Beach State, Schroeder’s team advanced to the NCAA title game, before winning it all his junior season with a program-best 31-4 record. Schroeder was an integral part of the Beach teams that were ranked No. 1 nationally en route to winning the program’s only National Title. He and his teammates from the 1991 National Championship team were inducted into the Long Beach State Athletics Hall of Fame in 2015.

“Brett Schroeder is one of the most unique players to be inducted into our Wall of Honor; mainly because of the fact that he’s played so many different positions for us during his career,” Knipe, who played alongside him, said of his former teammate. “I don’t know if there’s ever been a player that has played in four different positions during his career, excelled at all of them, all while playing in on a team competing for National Championships.

“He was, not only an exceptional volleyball player, but he was very much one of the main pillars of our team when it came to team culture. I couldn’t be happier for Brett. It’s an incredibly well-deserved honor.”

Richard Valbuena, was a student-athlete at Long Beach State from 1977-81 where he excelled both on and off the court. The hard-hitting outside hitter was a four-year letterwinner and team captain for the Beach during an era that saw Long Beach State go 67-45 for a nearly .600 winning percentage. With Valbuena on the team, LBSU made two appearances in the NCAA Regionals

“I was lucky enough to play with Richard for almost three years,” Ciarelli explained. “Richard was a very well-rounded volleyball player. He could do anything – pass, hit, block – very good all-around player. Playing with him was fun. He was a very competitive guy and a very good athlete.” Valbuena, a multi-sport athlete who played both volleyball and basketball in high school, honed his skills in volleyball in college and would later be called “one of the best outside hitters to ever play at Long Beach” by his former teammate Mike D’Alessandro.

“He was a great team leader and a great team player,” D’Alessandro continued. “He made all of his teammates better. Richard was a great all-around player who excelled at all the skills. By choosing to play volleyball at Long Beach State, he attracted many other good players to the school which helped provide the core of some excellent teams in the late 70s and early 80s. This induction is well-deserved for Richard who is, and always has been. a true 49er.”

The Wall of Honor class will be inducted after the men’s volleyball annual Randy Sandefur Memorial Golf Tournament which will be held on Monday, March 27 at El Dorado Park. The honorees will be recognized once more at Long Beach State’s match against Concordia on Friday, March 31 at 7 p.m.

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About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and co-founder of VolleyMob.com. Braden's first foray into sports journalism came in 2010, when he launched a swimming website called The Swimmers' Circle. Two years later, he joined SwimSwam.com as a co-founder. Long huge fans of volleyball, when Braden and the SwimSwam partners sought an opportunity to …

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