The Southern California Indoor Volleyball Hall of Fame inducted its 15-member class of 2018 at a gala event at the Highway 39 Event Center in Anaheim on May 5. Those honored included Mike Bright, Burt DeGroot, Scott Fortune, Brian Gimmillaro, Brent Hilliard, Flo Hyman, Ron Lang, Liz Masakayan, Nina Matthies, Elaina Oden, Pat Powers, Larry Rundle, Steve Salmons, John Speraw, Ernie Suwara, and Byron Shewman (Lifetime Service Award).
Mike Bright (deceased 2017): MVP on the first U.S. Olympic team in 1964 and was on the 1968 team. Bright also was a member of the 1972 U.S. National team, the 1973 Pan-Am Games silver medal squad and an eight-time USVBA national champion and nine-time All-American. The 16-time title winner on the beach, went on to coach with the Pepperdine women’s team. Bright was named to USVBA’s all-time great player list in 1983 and earned induction into the International Volleyball and CBVA Hall of Fames.
Bonnie Bright, head coach of Bright VBC, spoke on behalf of her late father. She pointed out that in accepting the award on behalf of her father, along with her daughter, her sister, her grandmother, her table represented four generations of Southern California Volleyball players.
Most of his life was spent in his wheelchair. “He had a quality about him that would make you want to push yourself.” He coached from his chair and “had unique ways of making you become the best volleyball player you could be.”
Bright recounted the other ways in which her father was inspirational: he swam two miles a week in Pepperdine’s pool, he loved to cook and to fish, and he built “amazing Stickley-quality furniture.”