The Corporators of the Volleyball Hall of Fame
Mintonette Medallion of Merit Award 1999
The Volleyball Hall of Fame was conceived right here in Holyoke, Massachusetts. United States Volleyball Association Board Member John O’Donnell and Peter Meltzer, who was Chairman of Officials in Region One, sought a means to honor the 75th Anniversary of volleyball. Both men lived in Holyoke and were members of the city’s Chamber of Commerce. Through their efforts, a series of clinics were held in Holyoke in 1970, followed by a major exhibition tournament in February, 1971, between the champion teams from Region One and Region 2. The tournament was so successful that it became the launchpad for the William G. Morgan Memorial Tournament and spawned a vision for a Volleyball Hall of Fame to honor the sport. Inspired by the successes of 1970 and 1971, the Chargers committee of the Holyoke Chamber of Commerce began to promote Holyoke as the “Birthplace of Volleyball,” and the USVBA designated the Holyoke Public Library as an official repository for volleyball memorabilia in anticipation of the new Hall of Fame.
The following year, 1972, the first William G. Morgan Memorial Tournament was held, and the Chamber of Commerce began the campaign for a Volleyball Hall of Fame in Holyoke to provide a memorial for the sport’s stars and great moments and to promote volleyball around the world. Officially, the Volleyball Hall of Fame was incorporated in 1978 by the group being honored here today: Joseph Alfano, Richard Barthelette, Ernest Brunault, Joseph Cassidy, William Collamore, William Crean, Vincent D’Addario, John Davy, Robert Gilbert, Robert Grenier, Thomas Griffin, Clinton Hampson, William Hartt, William Keating, Thomas Kennedy, Earl LaFlamme, Norman LaRoche, George Leary, Barbara Martino, Peter Meltzer, Robert Mocarski, Claude Morin, John Nolan, John O’Donnell, Pauline O’Donnell, Ernest Proulx, Sidney Radner, Lou Silver, Gary Somers, Allan Sonoda, Michael Tierney, James Tufts, Barry Waite, Robert Woodill, and William Yeo.
During the early years, Peter Meltzer installed an exhibit of volleyball memorabilia at the Wistariahurst Museum. The big breakthrough in the Volleyball Hall of Fame’s development, however, came after the U.S. Men’s Team won the Olympic Gold Medal in 1984. The spotlight on volleyball brought prominence to the sport and greatly aided the fledgling effort to establish the Hall. In 1985, the Hall of Fame held its first Induction, new exhibits were placed in the Holyoke City Hall, and the USA Cup match came to town. The success of these efforts prompted the City of Holyoke to renovate permanent space for the Volleyball Hall of Fame in Heritage State Park. In 1987 the first permanent exhibits were opened, and in 1988, the United States Volleyball Association designated the Volleyball Hall of Fame in Holyoke as the “official Hall of Fame of the USVBA.”
In 1995, the Volleyball Hall of Fame took another giant leap forward as it hosted the NCAA Volleyball Championships and the US Open during the sport’s centennial year. The success of these events prompted the City of Holyoke, along with other organizations and individuals, to assist the Volleyball Hall of Fame with construction of a larger and more modern exhibit space. Opened last October, the Volleyball Hall of Fame now boasts 3500 square feet of exhibition space and is unveiling plans for a new complex that will take it into the 21st century at the forefront of sports halls of fame.
Today the Hall proudly hosts its fourteenth induction and honors the pioneers, the Corporators, who gave birth to a movement, a museum, a gallery, a Volleyball Hall of Fame unmatched in its ability to promote its sport around the world.