Obit of the Day: Mr. Volleyball
Gene Selznick was actively involved in volleyball, indoors and out, for eight decades. He began playing volleyball on the court in high school, started playing on the beach when he was 19, and managed to keep his skills sharp as he played during his service in the Korean War.
Selznick, who stood at 6’ 2”, was one of the greatest indoor players in U.S. history. Over the fifteen-year period from 1951 to 1965, Mr. Selznick was selected as a USA Volleyball All-American ten times. He was also the captain of the USA Volleyball Men’s Team from 1953 through 1967.
But it was on the beach that Mr. Selznick truly excelled. He so dominated the game that at one point he had finished first or second in 57 of 63 tournaments in which he played. In 1956, at the end of a 24-tearm tournament, Mr. Selznick was named “Mr. All-World” as the most valuable player. He even introduced basketball legend, Wilt Chamberlain to the sport.
Later in his career, Mr. Selznick transitioned to the sidelines, coaching the USA Women’s volleyball team to the gold medal in the 1963 Pan Am Games. When beach volleyball made its Olympic debut in Atlanta in 1996, he was there coaching Sinjin Smith and Carl Henkel, who finished fifth.
Gene Selznick, who passed away at the age of 81, was inducted into the Volleyball Hall of Fame in 1988.
Additional source: USA Volleyball
(Image of Mr. Selznick spiking the ball as set by teammate Bob “Vogie” Vogelsang is courtesy of Kevin Goff, via the Beach Volleyball Database.)