The Volleyball Hall of Fame in Holyoke, Mass., enshrined its 100th individual as part of its 25th induction class with a ceremony held on Oct. 22. Six players from five countries made up the induction class: male indoor coach Hubert Wagner of Poland (accepted by his son Grzegorz), female beach volleyball team Shelda Bede and Adriana Behar of Brazil, female indoor coach Gabriella Kotsis from Hungary, male indoor player Aleksandr Savin of Russia and female indoor player Gabriela Perez del Solar from Peru.
VBM was on hand for the ceremony, which was abuzz with excitement at the presence of FIVB President Jizhong Wei. This was Wei’s first trip to the Hall of Fame, which is located in the town where the sport was created. Wei sat down with VBM prior to the event for an exclusive interview, where he said he has plans to work with Mayor of Holyoke Elaine A. Pluta, on promoting the Hall of Fame and making it a worldwide destination.
“Unfortunately the volleyball world does not know that volleyball has been invented here,” Wei said about Holyoke. “This is unfortunate. I told the mayor yesterday that together we will make a promotion for this place.”
Wei has been president of the FIVB for a little over two years, and said he considers himself a “president of transition.” “I need more responsibility and less power,” Wei said. “The FIVB does not belong to the President. The destiny of the FIVB is not in the hands of the President. It is in the hands of 220 national federations.”
Wei also touched on the AVP—saying that their problem was too much commercialization—and welcomed any AVP beach players into the FIVB, and said the recent FIVB Men’s World Championships were a success due to the number of fans in the stands, media presence and television play.
Originally published in January 2011