Volleyball legends to present, receive prestigious award in Plachy Hall
Pre-match ceremony set for Friday night
ALAMOSA, Colo.— Two of the biggest names in American volleyball history will be in Adams State College’s Plachy Hall Friday evening as Doug Beal, chief executive officer of USA Volleyball, will formally present Mary Jo Peppler with the organization’s Bertha H. Lucas All-Time Great Coaches Award at 7 p.m., immediately before the Grizzly volleyball team’s 2010 home-opener against arch-rival Western State College.
The prestigious award is presented annually to a U.S. volleyball coach who has coached for a minimum of 10 years and demonstrated the ability to help athletes and teams reach their highest potential. Recipients of this award have also been willing to pass along their knowledge and abilities to their peers.
Peppler has some strong ties to the Grizzly program as her niece Ericha Loosbrock is a member of the Grizzly Club board of directors. Loosbrock’s daughter Laura is a freshman outside hitter and setter for the Grizzlies.
A reception in Peppler’s honor will be held after the match in the Dr. Joe I. Vigil Hall of Fame room.
“We’re honored that this award will presented in our gym,” said Grizzly coach Lindy Mortensen. “Mary Jo is one of the greats and a legend of volleyball.”
As a coach, Peppler guided Utah State University to its first ever NCAA Division I National Championship in 1978. She also coached at the University of Kentucky and took her alma mater, Sul Ross University of Alpine, Texas to the NAIA National Championship in 1970 and 1971. She also worked with numerous colleges and universities as a coaching consultant.
Peppler also worked with beach volleyball teams at the 1992 and 2004 Olympic Games as well as numerous World Championship teams. Most recently she served as a coach and director for the Coast Volleyball Club in San Diego, Calif.
As a player, Peppler was a member of the 1964 Olympic women’s indoor volleyball team and the 1970 World Championship team, where. She won a gold medal with the U.S. team at the 1967 Pan American Games and played professionally during the 1970’s with the El Paso Sol and Phoenix Heat.
Peppler, who received USA Volleyball’s All-Time Great Player Award in 1982, is also a member of the Volleyball Hall of Fame, the Women’s Sports Hall of Fame and the California Beach Volleyball Association Hall of Fame among other commendations she has received.
Beal, who has given over 30 years of service to USA Volleyball, was a former national team player in the 1970’s and was named as the head coach for the USA men’s national team at the age of 29. In 1984, he guided players such as Karch Kiraly, Steve Timmons, Dusty Dvorak and Craig Buck to the country’s first-ever volleyball Olympic gold medal in Los Angeles.
He then resigned as the head coach to become the director of USA Volleyball’s National Team Center from 1985-87 and remained active with USA Volleyball before moving on to coach a top professional team in Italy.
Returning to rejoin the national team program in 1993, Beal served as a special assistant to the Executive Director/CEO and was responsible for FIVB relations and player development for the U.S. national teams. He worked in that capacity until he accepted the program’s head coaching position for the second time in 1997.
In 2005, Beal was named as the CEO of USA Volleyball and within the first week on the job, he hired Hugh McCutcheon as his replacement to lead the men’s national team and “Jenny” Lang Ping, an international playing and coaching legend, in her own right, to lead the U.S. Women’s National Team.
Those two hires played huge dividends as the U.S. Men’s National Team captured the gold medal at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, while the U.S. Women’s Team claimed the silver. U.S. players also won the gold medal in both men’s and women’s beach volleyball at those games, marking the first time that a country has won Olympic medals in all four disciplines.