Karch Kiraly - The Pride of Santa Barbara
On the sands that spawned him, Karch Kiraly, will have a court named in his honor on Saturday, November 21, at 11 AM. Former teammates, coaches and his family and friends will be present to dedicate the Karch Kiraly Court on center stage at East Beach to celebrate the four decades of his volleyball career, both indoor and out. He is certainly the proudest product of the Santa Barbara volleyball community both for his lifetime of accomplishments and for the work habits and character he has displayed throughout..
Karch learned the game on East Beach with his father Las, in the Santa Barbara High gym with Rick Olmstead, at UCLA with Al Scates — and has enjoyed success at every level. A CIF title for the Dons, three NCAA Championships for the Bruins, three Olympic Gold medals for the USA, and 148 tournament victories on the beach were enough to earn Karch the rare distinction of being named the player of the century by the International Volleyball Association. By the time of his retirement from beach competition in 2007, he’d won tournaments in 24 of his 28 seasons on the sand, with 13 different partners. Wherever he played Karch won, with superior focus, consistency, pressure performance … and his amazing talent. John Hanley grew up with Karch on these sands, and teamed with him at Santa Barbara High, and is just one of the hundreds who cherish their opportunities of playing with Karch, or even against him, over his many years of excellence. And eventually the whole volleyball world came to recognize Karch as the sport’s ultimate competitor.
Now, as coach of the US Women’s National Team since 2012, Karch is still earning glories, leading the USA to a World Championship in 2014, defeating the Chinese in the final. And his sights are set on the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. His career of hard work, humility, and competitive success are a source of deep pride for us all, and will be celebrated on this court in the decades to come.
Friends of East Beach Association