Karolyn Kirby

HOLYOKE, Mass. --- Four international greats of volleyball will be honored here in the birthplace of the sport on Friday, Oct. 15. Karolyn Kirby of the United States, Seiji Oko of Japan, Josef Musil of the Czech Republic and Mireya Luis of Cuba will be inducted to the Volleyball Hall of Fame in an afternoon ceremony.

The Hall's 19th enshrinement will take place at 2 p.m. at the Hall of Fame at 444 Dwight St. in Heritage State Park, immediately following a noon luncheon at the Log Cabin Banquet & Meeting House. Tickets for the luncheon are $25. Admission to the ceremony is free of charge. Seating for both events is limited.

The Volleyball Hall of Fame Reception and Dinner will be held at the Holyoke Holiday Inn and Holidome beginning at 6 p.m., Oct. 15. Short videos highlighting the inductees' careers in volleyball will be shown. Dinner tickets prices are $55 per person or $500 per table of 10.

Spalding and American Athletic, Inc., divisions of Russell Corp., will serve as Title/Tournament Sponsors for the Induction Celebration.

Kirby played 10 seasons (1989-1998) in the Women's Professional Volleyball Association (WPVA)/Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP). She was deemed the "Best Player in the World" by the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) for three straight years (1992-1994) and was named Most Valuable Player of the WPVA four times. Kirby also earned WPVA "Best Setter" honors in six of her 10 years on the tour. She won a Gold Medal in the Beach Volleyball Exhibition at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona. Kirby played three seasons (1979-1981) at Utah State and was a two-time All-American (1980 and 1981). Kirby finished her collegiate playing career at the University of Kentucky in 1983. She was named an All-American for her efforts. She was named to the SEC All-Tournament Team and was deemed Most Valuable Player in 1983. Kirby is a 1979 graduate of Brookline (Mass.) High School, where she was a four-year varsity player as well as a two-year captain. She was the "Boston Globe High School Player of the Year" in 1979 when she led her team to a state championship.

Kirby retired from professional beach volleyball in 1998, leaving the game as the all-time winningest player. She was also recently named a "Top Ten Player of the Century" by USA Volleyball. Currently, she is assistant coach of the University of New Hampshire women's volleyball team.

Other events planned for the weekend include a coaches clinic with top coaches from around the world and an officials clinic slated for Saturday, Oct. 16 at Holyoke Community College. The Induction Celebration continues with the 16-team Women's Collegiate Volleyball Hall of Fame Induction Tournament at Smith, Mount Holyoke, Springfield and Amherst Colleges on Friday night, Oct. 22 and Saturday Oct. 23. Admission is free.

For more information on how to obtain tickets or to sponsor Induction Celebration events, contact the Volleyball Hall of Fame at (413) 536-0926, by e-mail at info@volleyhall.org or by visiting the website at www.volleyhall.org.

The Induction Celebration is sponsored in part by Spalding, AAI, PeoplesBank, The Holyoke Holiday Inn and The Holyoke Medical Center.

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