The Southern California Indoor Volleyball Hall of Fame announced 15 inductees for its 2018 class. The honorees including five members of the International Volleyball Hall of Fame – Mike Bright, Edward “Burt” DeGroot, Flo Hyman, Ron Lang and Larry Rundle – and three who are already in the American Volleyball Coaches Association Hall of Fame – Brian Gimmillaro, Liz Masakayan and Nina Matthies.
This is the second class of inductees for the SCIVB Hall of Fame, with this group set for induction on May 6.
The seven other honorees including three Olympic gold medalists, two Olympic bronze medalists and two coaches with Olympic medals to their credit. The gold medalists are: Scott Fortune (1988), Pat Powers (1984) and Steve Salmons (1984). The bronze medalists are: Brent Hilliard (1992) and Elaina Oden (1992). The coaches are: Ernie Suwara (team gold 2008) and John Speraw (team bronze 2016). Suwara also was the MVP of the first U.S. Olympic team in 1964, while Speraw was the 2012 U.S. assistant coach and is the current 2020 USA National Team head coach.
“We are very excited for our second SCIVBHOF induction class because of the volleyball history of the honorees going from the 1940s to present time,” said Mike Gallups, President of the SCIVBHOF. “The selections for the first two years were definitely a challenge for our committee, but when you look at the HOF backgrounds, it is another amazing group that have done so much for the indoor game throughout Southern California, the USA and the World.”
Eight members of the class have previously been recognized by USA Volleyball with all-time great or all-era USVBA team honors: Mike Bright, Burt DeGroot, Flo Hyman, Ron Lang, Nina Matthies, Elaina Oden, Pat Powers and Larry Rundle.
“Our second class is representative of the best in both playing and coaching on the high school, college and international levels and we are very proud of the 15 honorees that the committee selected,” SCIVBHOF executive director Michael Sondheimer said.
Three members of the class are being inducted posthumously: Bright, DeGroot and Hyman.
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.
Col. Edward ‘Burt’ DeGroot (deceased 2003): considered one of the founding fathers of Southern California indoor volleyball, coaching from the 1940s to 1970s. DeGroot won three U.S. Air Force titles as a player/coach (1946-48). He went on to coach Far Eastern Armed Forces Champs (1957-59) and five U.S. Air Force World Wide title winners (1953, 1954, 1958-60). On the college scene, DeGroot coached Santa Monica College four straight titles from 1961-64. He also had coaching stints at Westside Jewish Community and Pepperdine and as an assistant coach with the 1964 USA Olympic team.
Scott Fortune: A Laguna Beach High School and Stanford alumni was a two-time All-American (1987, 1989) who went on to win gold at the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games and bronze as the captain of the 1992 Barcelona Olympic team. Fortune also was a member of the 1996 Atlanta Games side and was named to the Pac-12 All-Century Team.
Brian Gimmillaro: the lone coach in the United States to boast national titles on the collegiate, club and high school levels. In 41 years, Gimmillaro notched four national titles at Gahr High School and three NCAA women’s titles at Long Beach State, while accumulating 985 career wins. Gimmillaro career also brought Big West, NCAA, Volleyball Magazine, US Olympic Committee coach of the year awards. He also received USA’s All-time Great Coach award and was inducted into the AVCA Hall of Fame in 2008.
Brent Hilliard: A Dana Hills and Long Beach State alumni, Hilliard was a member of LBSU’s 1991 NCAA champion team and 1990 runner-up squad. He was a three-time first team All-American and also garnered 1991 NCAA Tournament MVP and 1992 NCAA Player of the Year accolades. Hilliard was the youngest player on Team USA’s bronze medal team at the 1992 Olympics and went on to earn silver at the 1993 Pan-American Games. In 2001, Hilliard joined the staff at the University of San Diego, where he remains associate women’s head coach.
Flo Hyman (deceased 1986): The first female scholarship athlete at the University of Houston, Hyman went on to be the 1976 AIAW National Player of the Year, a three-time All-American and 1998 Houston Hall of Fame inductee. Hyman was a member of the 1980 and 1984 U.S. National Team, earning silver in 1984 and top hitter honors. She also competed at the Pan-Am Games, NORCECA Championships and World Championships and was inducted into the Volleyball Hall of Fame (1988) and Texas Sports Hall of Fame (2017). Hyman was named as on of USVBA’s all-time great volleyball players.
Ron Lang: A USC alumni and member of the USA National team from 1958 to 1968, Lang played on the first USA Olympic Team in 1964 and was a nine-time first team All-American. He won more than 50 beach tournaments, including 45 from 1957 to 1972, en route to inclusion in USVBA’s 75th anniversary men’s all-era team (1953-77) and induction into the International Hall of Fame (2005), California Beach Hall of Fame (2011) and Los Angeles City Hall of Fame (2013).
Liz Masakayan: A Santa Monica High School alumna, Masakayan led UCLA to its first national title in 1984 en route to the 1984 Honda Award as the nation’s top college volleyball player. She went on to be a three-time All-American, while helping the Bruins to a national runner-up finish in 1983 and the Final Four in 1985. With the US National Team, the outside hitter was a member of the 1988 Olympic team. As a coach at UCLA, she guided the team to the 1990 and 1991 NCAA titles and 1992 runner-up finish. Later, she was named as one of the 25 greatest players in UCLA history and inducted into the AVCA College Volleyball Hall of Fame and California Beach Hall of Fame.
Nina Matthies: A Mira Costa and UCLA alumna, Matthies was a member of the AIAW national championship teams in 1974 and 1975. She played on the USA National Team at the 1971 Pan-American Games and went on to coach at UCLA and Pepperdine. At UCLA, Matthies was ana assistant coach on the 1981 NCAA runner-up team. In 31 years at Pepperdine, she led the Waves to 20 NCAA appearances, 11 conference titles, 590 career wins and one Elite Eight berth. Matthies also started the beach program at Pepperdine, leading the team to the collegiate championship in 2012 and 2014. Named as one of Volleyball Magazine’s Most Influential People in the First 100 Years of Volleyball, Matthies was inducted into the AVCA College Hall of Fame and was tabbed as a member of the 75th Anniversary All-Era Team by USA Volleyball.
Elaina Oden: An Irvine High School, Orange County VB Club and Pacific alumna, Olden led Pacific to NCAA titles in 1985 and 1986 and earned College Player of the Year honors following the latter. A member of the NCAA 25-Year All-Anniversary team and All-Decade team from the 1980s, Oden went on to play on the 1992 and 1996 Olympics, earning bronze at the former. She was later selected to the USA Volleyball 75th anniversary team (1978-2002) and inducted into the Pacific Hall of Fame in 2000.
Pat Powers: A Santa Monica High School, Santa Monica Junior College and USC alumni, Powers led SMJC to the 1977 California state title and USC to a 1979 NCAA runner-up finish. He was later one of only a handful of players to win both NCAA and beach titles. A two-time NCAA All-American, 11-time USVBA All-American, five-time champion and two-time USA National Player of the Year, Powers played on the USA Olympic gold medal team in 1984, World Cup champion in 1985, and World Champion team in 1986. After his playing days, Powers was the men’s head coach at USC, amassing 100 wins. He was a member of the USAVB 75th anniversary team (1978-2002) as well as the Pac-12 and Volleyball Magazine all-century teams.
Larry Rundle: A two-time national champion at UCLA (1965, 1966), Rundle was a six-time USVBA All-American and earned three USVBA MVP honors (1968-70). Rundle won gold at the 1967 Pan American Games and was a member of the 1968 Olympic team and was named as one of USVBA’s 1983 All-Time Great Player awards. He was inducted into the UCLA Hall of Fame and International Volleyball Hall of Fame in 1994.
Steve Salmons: Salmons starred at Pacific Palisades High School. UCLA and later Team USA. He was the LA City Player of the Year as Pacific Palisades won the first ever Southern California Regional Championship. Later, he was the College Player of the Year in 1979 after leading UCLA to the first unbeaten season in college volleyball history and the NCAA title. In 1981, he led the Bruins to a 1981 title en route to his third All-America honor. Salmons was a member of the U.S. National team from 1978 to 1986, helping the squad to the 1984 Olympic gold, 1985 World Cup gold and 1986 World Championship. A member of Volleyball Magazine’s All-Century team, he also was inducted into the UCLA Athletic Hall of Fame in 2000.
John Speraw: One of just three people to win NCAA titles as a player and head coach and the only person to win as a player, assistant coach and head coach, Speraw made his mark on Arcadia High School, UCLA and UC Irvine. As a player, he won the CIF title at Arcadia and went on to win two NCAA titles with UCLA (1993, 1995). As a coach, he won an NCAA title as an assistant with the Bruins in 2000. Speraw went on to be head coach at UC Irvine, earning the Anteaters three NCAA titles (2007, 2009 and 2012), before moving on to the same position at UCLA in 2013 and leading the Bruins to the NCAA Final Four in 2016. He was an assistant coach for the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team, which won gold, and became head coach after the 2012 Games, leading the team to bronze in 2016.
Ernie Suwara: A recent inductee into the California Community College Hall of Fame, Suwara started his career at Santa Monica College under fellow inductee Burt DeGroot. He was the youngest player on the 1964 Olympic team and was the team MVP before receiving the first ever volleyball scholarship at UCLA. He was a member of the 1965 and 1967 USVBA national championship teams, earning MVP honors for the latter. Suwara was a four-time USVBA All-American en route to the UCLA Hall of Fame (1989). He was later named to the Pac-12 and Volleyball Magazine all-century teams and inducted into the California Beach Hall of Fame.