As a boys high school volleyball coach for the past 11 years, I have been part of a continuing struggle among area coaches and players to make our sport seem legitimate in the eyes of local high school sports fans. We have long contended that our sport in no way resembles the game played at picnics and that, in fact, Western New York boys volleyball is played at a competitive level found in few other places in the United States. The 100th anniversary issue of Volleyball Monthly magazine seems to prove that we've been right all along.
In this issue, the editors of the magazine name their "All-Time Men's Fab 50" -- their list of the 50 most outstanding men's high school volleyball players since the magazine started publication. There, for all to see, are the names of three young men who played their high school volleyball in the Buffalo area -- Robert Pierce from Eden and Chris Chase from Sweet Home ('85), who both went on to play at Penn State, and Rich Bland from Orchard Park ('88) who is now playing at UCLA. It is quite a testimony to the level of boys' volleyball in our area that we are so well represented on such a prestigious list.
Congratulations to Robert, Chris, Rich and their high school coaches, Joe Gillespie, Dave Beiter and Walt Stefani. The rest of the coaches and players in Western New York can take some pride, too, and we can also smile at the thought that while those three stars pounded the heck out of our teams, at least we were being pounded by the best.
Boys volleyball coach
Clarence High School