LOS ANGELES (Jul. 25)
If dedication, motivation and teamwork mean anything, the United States men’s volleyball team will win a gold medal at the 1984 Olympic Games. Other national teams have some degree of these elements in the past, but none as much as the current edition. Experts on the international volleyball scene believe that the Americans have a good chance to do so, and they give credit to Doug Beal, now in his eighth year as head coach.
Although volleyball was created in America, other countries took a more professional attitude towards the sport, and soon they pulled ahead of the United States.
For a long time, coaches of national champions were appointed as coaches of national teams, which were made up mostly of their own players. They would work out together for a while, then take off as little time as possible from their jobs, and compete in international tournaments with no real idea of what the world out there looked like.
The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) took a more serious position after the 1964 and 1968 Olympics. The U.S. did not quality for either the 1972, 1976 or 1980 Olympics. Until 1976 full-time or part time coaches were men who were on leaves of absence from college teaching positions. At that time they turned to Beal, who determined that he wanted to take the U.S. to the top position that it deserved.
A ZEAL FOR VOLLEYBALL
Beal was born and raised in Cleveland, where his family was affiliated with The Temple. He played volleyball in junior and senior high school (Shaker Heights), and then went on to Hobart College where he played basketball, because volleyball was not a major sport.
After two years he transferred to Ohio State University (OSU), to pursue his interest in physical education and his zeal for volleyball. He played there in 1967 and 1969, captaining the team his last year, when it won the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association title and finished fourth in the NCAA national meet. He also was a key player with the United States team in the Maccabiah Games that year.
In 1970 and 1971 Beal coached at Bowling Green, then returned to coach at OSU for three years. His team consistently won MIVA titles and he was Coah of the Year in 1972 and 1973. He played on the national teams from 1970 to 1976, during which time he was the Most Valuable Player for the national open championship Chart House team in 1975.
While on the national team Beal became the most experienced international player in U.S. ranks. His record includes two World championships, four Norceca Zone Meets, two Pan American Games, selection to three Olympic teams.
KNOWN FOR INNOVATIVE METHODS
Following his master’s degree in education from Bowling Green and a Ph. D. in exercise physiology from Ohio State, he was a logical choice when the USOC looked for a career coach in 1976. He took over a team of individual all-stars, and soon developed a team filled with the desire to win, no matter who made the points.