Three Europeans, including Player of the Century, inducted into Volleyball Hall of Fame - Class of 2011

The Volleyball Hall of Fame will enshrine inductees 101 to 106 on Friday evening in a ceremony held at the Log Cabin Banquet and Meeting Room in the sports birthplace of Holyoke, Massachusetts.
Through a live video stream accessed at www.volleyhall.org, a worldwide audience will have the opportunity to watch the inductions of women’s indoor players Magaly Carvajal of Cuba and Rita Crockett of the United States, men’s indoor players Lorenzo Bernardi of Italy, Hugo Conte of Argentina and Vladimir Grbic of Serbia, and Volleyball leader Dr. Frantisek Stibitz of the Czech Republic, who has passed away.

Volleyball Hall of Fame - Class of 2011

Lorenzo Bernardi (Italy)

Lorenzo Bernardi was elected co-FIVB Volleyball Player of the Century in 2001 (along with USA’s Karch Kiraly) as a multi-talented hitter, excellent passer and one of the great all-around performers. He played in three Olympic Games (1988, 1992 and 1996), leading Italy to the silver medal at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. Bernardi also helped Italy to claim two editions of the FIVB World Championships in 1990 and 1994, highlighted by being named Best Player of the 1994 tournament. He posted 306 caps for Italy, winning two European gold medals (1989 and 1995), three FIVB World League titles and the FIVB World Cup (1995). Bernardi was named most valuable player of the 1992 FIVB World League and elected best player of the 1995 European Championship. He played professional club Volleyball for many years in Italy winning the prestigious league championship nine times and is currently active as head coach of club vice World champion JASTRZEBSKI Wegiel.

Magaly Carvajal (Cuba)

Magaly Carvajal, regarded as one of the best blockers of all-time, was a huge part in Cuba’s domination for many years. She led Cuba to gold medals at both the 1992 and 1996 Olympic Games. She also paced Cuba to the gold medal at the 1994 FIVB World Championship. Carvajal collected three FIVB World Cup gold medals in 1989, 1991 and 1995. Carvajal was named as one of the top three players in the world in 1996. As a naturalized citizen of Spain in 1998, she competed for Spain’s national team in 2001 and 2002. In addition, Carvajal became a dominant player in the Spanish professional Volleyball league. She helped Spar TENERIFE Marichal to the Champions League title in 2003/04. In September of 2010, she agreed to serve as coach and player for Feel Volley Alcobendas in Spain’s Superliga second division.

Hugo Conte (Argentina)

Hugo Conte competed in three Olympic Games for Argentina, resulting in a sixth-place finish at the 1984 Olympic Games, bronze medal at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul and a fourth-place finish at the 2000 Olympic Games. Conte was an instrumental part of the Argentinean team that was in contention for podium finishes in every major international competition for nearly a 16-year period. He helped Santal PARMA of the Italian professional league win the 1984 Champions Cup. Conte played professionally in three different countries – Argentina, France and Italy – but predominantly in the Italian league with Parma (1983-84, 2000-01), Ugento (1984-86), Acqua Pozillo Catania (1987-90), Modena (1990-93), Cuneo (1993-94), Milan (1994-95), Catania (1995-98). Overall, his club playing career spanned 23 years, starting with Ferro Carril Oeste in his native country and ending in 2001 with Parma. His son Facundo is now a member of the Argentina men’s national team.

Rita Crockett (United States)

Rita Crockett was a member of the 1980 and 1984 U.S. Women’s Olympic Teams, helping USA to the silver medal at the 1984 Olympic Games. She was one of six players selected to the All-World Team in 1981 as she led the U.S. team to the 1981 FIVB World Cup bronze medal. Crockett assisted the United States to the bronze medal at the 1982 FIVB World Championship in Peru. For 17 years, she played and coached in the United States, Japan, Italy and Switzerland. From 1982 to 1986, she played for the Daiei Team in Kobe, Japan, helping the team to the Japan V-League title and being named MVP in 1986. From 1988 to 1993, Crockett played for Matera and Rome in Italy. In 1990 she was named most valuable player of the Italian League and helped Rome win the CEV Cup in 1993. Crockett was the first African-American to win the Beach Volleyball World Championship in 1989 alongside Volleyball Hall of Fame partner Jackie Silva.

Vladimir Grbic (Serbia)

Vladimir Grbic, a three-time Olympian, led the Yugoslavia men’s team to the 2000 Olympic Games gold medal and the bronze medal at the 1996 Olympic Games. In addition to the Olympic Games, his trophy case includes medals from many major international events such as the gold medal at the 2001 European Championship, silver medal at the 1997 European Championship, silver medal at the 1998 FIVB World Championship, silver medal at the 2003 FIVB World League, bronze medals at both the 1995 and 1999 European Championships, bronze medal at the 2001 FIVB World Grand Champions Cup and bronze medals at the 2002 and 2004 FIVB World League. The Yugoslavia Olympic Committee declared Grbic the Sportsman of the Year in 1996 and 2000. He also received the Golden Badge in 1999 and 2000 as Yugoslavia’s best athlete. Grbic served on the Athletes Commission of the Olympic Committee of Serbia and as President of the Fund of the Olympic Committee of Serbia. Grbic is currently a member of the FIVB Development Commission and Vice-President of the Volleyball Federation of Serbia.

Dr. Frantisek Stibitz (Czech Republic)

Dr. Frantisek Stibitz was one of the founding fathers of the FIVB, representing Czechoslovakia at the inaugural FIVB organization meeting in April 1947. He was truly one of the fathers of the FIVB and world Volleyball. In 1966 he was named a member of the FIVB Rules of the Game Commission (RGC), which he then headed from 1978 to 1980. Among his many ideas, the FIVB approved his proposal for using paddles for substitutions that is still used today. In 1977, Dr. Stibitz submitted to the FIVB a first draft of a completely new guide which explained in detail all the rules and the terminology to be used while carrying out any Volleyball competition. This document was approved during the 1980 Olympic Games. In 1950 Dr. Stibitz started working actively as a member of various commissions in charge of defining both the rules and the terminology for various disciplines, namely basketball, volleyball and judo. In 1998 he was appointed as an honorary member of the Czech Volleyball Federation and simultaneously inducted into its Hall of Fame. He devoted his last years to the establishment of the Czech Volleyball Hall of Fame. In addition to his leadership roles, Dr. Stibitz led the Egyptian Volleyball team to two gold medals at the Pan-African and Pan-Arabic Championships in 1965 and 1966, respectively. Dr. Stibitz passed away on March 3, 2008.

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