Volleyball Festival, Inc.
1999 William G. Morgan Award
The Volleyball Festival started as the commitment of one set of parents to providing athletic opportunities for their children. Bernice and David Epperson only wanted to send their daughter’s volleyball team to the Junior Olympics in 1981. Their fundraising and promotional activities in the Southern California area led Gary Colberg, a director of the Junior Olympics, to involve them with the administration of the 1982 Junior Olympics and the organization of the 1983 Junior Olympics at the University of California-Los Angeles.
In 1984, the Junior Olympics were scheduled to take place in Rhode Island, an expensive trip for the numerous West Coast teams. The Volleyball Festival was developed as an alternative event on the West Coast and was held in Northern California as an adjunct to the Los Angeles Olympic Games. With the success of the first Festival behind them, the Eppersons went on to organize ever larger Volleyball Festivals for junior girls.
The success of the Volleyball Festival is based on the promise of equal amounts of play for all levels, allowing all teams to play each day, all week, in a competitive but not contentious sports experience. Moreover, the Volleyball Festival has grown to include a wide variety of educational, social and entertainment activities for players, coaches and parents. The emphasis in the week of competition is on Festival Spirit, the best qualities that sports promote: bonds between teammates, sportsmanship, responsibility and teamwork, and the good-natured fun of competition.
Today, the Volleyball Festival is the largest annual sporting event in the world, with more than 900 teams and 10,000 team members. Throughout the week of competition, the players are cheered on by 1400 club coaches, 200 college recruiters, 450 paid staff, 10,000 parents and spectators. The Opening Ceremonies now attract over 16,000 participants. The Volleyball Festival truly lives up to its slogans: “Giving Women a Sporting Chance” and “Taking Sport to a Higher Level.”
The Volleyball Hall of Fame presents the William G. Morgan award to The Volleyball Festival, Inc. for its enormous enthusiasm and organizational skill in promoting the sport of volleyball at the junior level.