Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA)
Court of Honor Recipient 1989
Volleyball was invented in 1895 at the Young Men's Christian Association in Holyoke, Massachusetts by William Morgan, Physical Director, as an alternative to basketball, which he found too strenuous for businessmen in his evening gymnastic classes.
That same year, Morgan unveiled the game at a physical directors' conference at Springfield College, then the international YMCA training college. Two "mintonette" teams from Holyoke, one led by Major J. J. Curran, arrived by trolley car to demonstrate the new sport and the directors responded enthusiastically. Upon the suggestion of Springfield faculty member Dr. A. T. Halstead the name of the game was changed to volleyball.
As it had with basketball, the YMCA nurtured volleyball through its early years; a committee of physical directors annually revised the rules, which were printed, for the first time in 1897, in the First Edition of the Handbook of the Athletic League of the YMCA's of North America. In 1916, the rules were issued jointly by the YMCA and the National Collegiate Athletic Association in the Spalding Blue Cover Series.
During the same period YMCA directors stationed in foreign countries were making the game popular around the world. There were many notable YMCA "volleyball missionaries." Franklin Brown carried the sport to Japan, Henry J. Sims and Jess Hopkins to South America, Elwood Brown to the Philippines, Max Exner and Howard Crocker to China, Dr. John Gray to Ceylon and India, and Christopher Scaife to Siberia.
The first National Volleyball Tournament was held at the Brooklyn Central YMCA of New York in 1922 and six years later the YMCA was among the twelve organizations that convened to form the United States Volleyball Association. The YMCA continues to promote the game of volleyball at more than 2,000 locations in all 50 states and offers programs to men, women, and children of all ages, races and religions.