Volleyball Hall of Famers Visit the Birthplace of Volleyball

The 2015 Volleyball Hall of Fame inductees are honored in the city where the sport began.

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Volleyball Hall of Famers Visit the Birthplace of Volleyball

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On Friday, October 23, members of the 2015 Volleyball Hall of Fame Induction Class were interviewed in Holyoke High School’s media center by Joel Darling. The Herald was given the opportunity to meet with two of the inductees, Paulo Roberto “Bebeto” De Freitas of Brazil and Lloy Ball of the U.S. Bebeto and Ball are two of four 2015 Volleyball Hall of Fame inductees. Helia Rogerio De Souza “Fofao” of Brazil and Renan Dal Zotto of Brazil are the other two inductees.

Llloy Ball began playing volleyball before the age of five. In 1987, when he was fifteen, he had his first big career turning point. He was the youngest player to earn a spot in the Olympic Festival. Ball was also the youngest player to compete with the USA National Team at the age of sixteen.

Ball told The Herald, “I was seen by the USA team at a young age and then decided being an Olympic gold medalist was my one and only dream and I did everything possible to make it happen.” Ball went on to play volleyball for his father at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne. He competed in the 1996, 2000, and 2004 Olympic games.

Finally, in 2008 Ball’s dream came true. He won the gold medal for the USA team in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Some of Ball’s many other achievements include being selected as the NCAA freshman of the year and three times as an All-American, leading the USA team to the FIVB World League title while being picked as their MVP, participating on several teams that medaled in the CEV Champions League, and being given the honor of Best Setter multiple times.

Lloy Ball is the first and only four-time volleyball Olympian from the U.S. Men’s Indoor team. His many accomplishments are honored through his induction into the Volleyball Hall of Fame.

“It’s a great way to finish my career. The list of amazing volleyball players that have been inducted is not very long, so to be on that list is a great honor,” Ball told The Herald.

Paulo Roberto “Bebeto” De Freitas was a volleyball player for Brazil in the 1970s and he competed for Brazil in the Olympic Games. Bebeto’s induction, however, is for his outstanding coaching career. He was the coach of the Brazilian Indoor Men’s team from 1980-1984. Under his coaching, the team won a silver medal at the 1984 Los Angeles Games. Bebeto also coached the Brazilian team from 1987-1990. He then went on to coach Maxicono Parma in the Italian A1 League from 1990-1996. Following this coaching experience, Bebeto accepted an offer to coach the Italian Men’s National Team. He coached the team from 1996 to 1999 and led the team to the FIVB World Championship in 1998. Through the years Bebeto has coached many volleyball players including one of his fellow 2015 Volleyball Hall of Fame inductees, Renan Dal Zotto. He has also coached many youth players throughout his coaching career.

When asked to describe some of his biggest accomplishments and biggest challenges during his career with volleyball Bebeto responded to The Herald by saying, “It’s very difficult to work with the things you love. When you get success in the things you love and the things you have passion for, it’s a good reward.”birthplace

When talking about his experiences with volleyball, Bebeto told Herald, “In Brazil we don’t have like you guys here. The sport is not set up in high school and college. There it’s a club program. I learned playing volleyball at the beach. I grew up 100 meters from the beech in Rio. We play everything on the beach.” Bebeto went on to tell The Herald that he started coaching very early in his life. He said that when he was nineteen he coached kids around the ages of thirteen and fourteen.  He then said that he played with the national team in Brazil and they invited him to help the youth program. Bebeto said, “You have so many important coaches but only a few work with the beginners.” Bebeto described coaching to be like teaching math or other subjects. He told The Herald, “You need to learn, you need to study, you need to do anything so to be able to have a kid play volleyball you need to teach him almost how to move. This is the mystery, this is exactly the secret for the coach, in my opinion. If you teach the kid how to play volleyball it will be easier for you later on to understand the mistakes the high level players do.”

When talking about his experiences with high level volleyball players Bebeto said, “To be able to work with them, this is the whole thing. Even if they’re on a very high level you need to have capability to coach them.” Bebeto continued the comparison of a coach being like a teacher and told The Herald, “If you don’t have respect for your teacher, you’re not gonna learn.”

Bebeto’s volleyball success and hard work earned him a spot in the Volleyball Hall of Fame. Bebeto told The Herald, “It’s an honor. I don’t think I can right now realize how important this is, or was, for my career.”

Jim Leahy, HHS class of 92, is the President of the Volleyball Hall of Fame.

On October 24th the four volleyball legends were inducted into the Volleyball Hall of Fame. They enjoyed a whole weekend of festivities in the birthplace of volleyball, Holyoke. On Friday the 23rd there was a mayor’s reception and the Ring and Plaque Ceremony which was held inside the Volleyball Hall of Fame. On Saturday there was the formal Enshrinement Dinner and Ceremony. Congratulations to the 2015 inductees from The Herald!

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