Press Release courtesy of LBSU Athletics
The Long Beach State men’s volleyball program has announced the addition of two members to the Wall of Honor. This year, the Beach welcomes Robert Kutsch and Tom Wade as the Class of 2018.
“Both of these men exemplify what it means to be a great teammate and a Long Beach State student-athlete,” said Rocky Ciarelli, who played for Long Beach State from 1977-79 and was inducted in the inaugural class. “They are very deserving of being inducted into 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.
Kutsch and Wade not only left their mark on the court during their playing days, but they have also been significant contributors off the court as well. The pair have continually shown their dedication and commitment to the Long Beach State men’s volleyball program. Their support has been an integral component in creating one of the nation’s perennial powerhouse volleyball programs.
“Congratulations to Robert and Tom on their induction to the Wall of Honor,” Long Beach State head coach and Wall of Honor member Alan Knipe, who was a teammate of Kutsch’s, said. “Both of these guys made major impacts on the court and provide great leadership and work ethic. Robert and Tom are both very deserving of this special honor.”
Kutsch was a middle blocker for the Beach, excelling on the court from 1987-90. Nearly three decades later, he still holds the school record for most double-figure block matches (12) and is the single-season record holder in total blocks (224), block assists (194), blocks per set average (1.83), and sets played (139). The stalwart at the net ranks second all-time at Long Beach State with 527 total blocks, third with 85 solo blocks, and fifth with 442 block assists. His career blocks per set average of 1.42 is also good for fifth in the LBSU annals. Kutsch is one of just nine players in program history to record a triple-double at the Beach as he boasted 19 kills, 15 digs, and 10 blocks in Long Beach State’s 3-2 win over Hawaii on April 1, 1989. That same year, he earned All-American Honorable Mention selection.
“He is a really hard worker,” Ciarelli stated. “He’s a team guy. He’s one of those guys who does everything he can for the team.”
Wade played outside hitter for two years at Long Beach State before graduating in 1980. The transfer from LA Pierce College brought a competitive spirit and talent, along with strong ball control skills to the Beach. A natural athlete, Wade began playing volleyball at LA Pierce College and excelled at the sport. Despite battling injuries, he went on to be named team captain in his senior year and earned All-Conference Honorable Mention in 1980.
“Tom Wade is one of the best all-around volleyball players that ever played at Long Beach State; probably a top-5 outside hitter in program history,” said Mike D’Alessandro, a Wall of Honor member and former teammate of Wade’s. “Even more important than his volleyball skills were his skills as a person and as a teammate. Absolutely one of the best teammates anybody could ever have. His leadership as the captain of the 1980 team was outstanding. He was a great player, a great teammate, and an awesome team captain for the program and this honor is well-deserved.”
Kutsch and Wade will be inducted into the Wall of Honor, joining the current 27 members, on Monday, March 19 at the annual Randy Sandefur Memorial Golf Tournament at El Dorado Park.
Long Beach State Men’s Volleyball Wall of Honor Members