MUNCIE, Ind. — American volleyball lost a legend. Don Shondell, perhaps one of the most recognizable names in the sport, died around 10 p.m. at Ball Memorial Hospital Tuesday night. He was 92.
A Ball State Athletics, AVCA and International Volleyball Hall of Fame member, Shondell amassed dozens of accolades throughout his historic career.
Truly, he was a volleyball coaching legend in every sense.
'A legend in every regard': Volleyball community mourns death of coaching great Don Shondell
A 1952 and 1956 Ball State graduate, Shondell started the BSU men's volleyball program in 1960 and worked for years to get men's volleyball varsity status, which he successfully did in 1964. Shondell coached the Cardinals for 34 years, amassing a 769-280-6 record — the second most wins all-time in the sport — 20 Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association titles and 13 NCAA Tournament berths.
He helped found the MIVA, the league the men's volleyball team plays in today, and was its first president. Even after he retired from Ball State in 1998, Shondell continued coaching volleyball at Munciana and Muncie Burris, where he led the eighth-grade volleyball team for 12 years before retiring in 2017. At the age of 87, his final season leading the Owls, Shondell led the team to an undefeated season.
"I just enjoyed working with those kids," Shondell told The Star Press in 2017. "They learned how to play when they were really young – that's how Burris got all those state championships. They’ve always had good training. Plus, a lot of kids get into Munciana. That all ties in with the success I've had."
Perhaps more impressive than Shondell's personal legacy is the impact he had, and will continue to have, on the game of volleyball.
"I think he's had as much influence on the sport as any coach in the country, in particular the state of Indiana and the Midwest," said his son, Steve Shondell. "He brought volleyball to Ball State and then just began teaching coaches throughout the Midwest about the sport, how to coach the sport, how to teach it. He was all about promoting volleyball."
It's funny, Don spent his life promoting a game he knew next to nothing about before he arrived at Ball State. After high school, he was working at a General Motors plant in Fort Wayne. There he saw one of his friends working up the line get several of his fingers chopped off in a machine one day and decided to "get out as fast as he can," Steve said.
Soon after, Don ended up at Ball State and the rest is history. He not only fought with administration to help men's volleyball become a varsity sport, turned it into a national power while also teaching physical education, but he taught soon-to-be coaches throughout the Midwest — where volleyball was rarely played at the time — everything to know about the game.
From elementary to the Olympics, Don Shondell's impact has been felt at all levels of volleyball.
Don's three sons — Dave, John and Steve — have each had wildly successful coaching careers themselves. His daughter, Kim, also had three daughters who played the game.
Dave, who earned his 400th career collegiate victory this season, is the head coach of the Purdue women's volleyball team, which is currently ranked sixth in the country. He is assisted by his brother, John.
Steve, meanwhile, is perhaps one of the most accomplished high school coaches ever, regardless of sport. At Muncie Burris, where he officially retired from coaching two seasons ago, Steve led the Owls to a state record 21 state titles from 1976-2009. After coaching the Ball State women's volleyball team 2010-16, he returned to coach Burris during the 2019 season and finished his 35-year high school career with a 1,209-101 record.
After his retirement, Don Shondell remained passionate about the game. He would often be spotted at Muncie Burris, Ball State and Purdue matches. His children and grandchildren continued his legacy, piling up accolades as both players and coaches.
One of the final matches Don Shondell watched was inside Ball State's Worthen Arena, where the practice facility, which opened in 2018, is named in his honor.
Nearly 60 years after starting the men's program at Ball State, it was at Worthen Arena on Nov. 6, 2021, where Don saw another reminder of his impact. It was there where Don saw his son, Steve, honored as a part of the 50th anniversary of the Indiana high school volleyball state tournament. It was there where he saw his granddaughter and John's daughter, McCutcheon sophomore setter Allie Shondell, lead the Mavericks to a sweep in the Class 4A State Championship.
Don Shondell might be gone, but his legacy lives on through those who carry his namesake and through the thousands of players, coaches and volleyball fans on whom he made such an impact.
This story will be updated.
Source : https://www.thestarpress.com/story/news/local/2021/11/24/muncie-ball-state-volleyball-coaching-legend-don-shondell-dies/8748396002/1319