Don Shondell, Hall of Fame volleyball coach for Ball State, dead at 92


Dr. Don Shondell

MUNCIE, Ind. — An iconic figure in the lore of Ball State University volleyball died on Tuesday night. Dr. Don Shondell was 92 years old.

A graduate of Ball State University in 1952 and 1956, Dr. Shondell had a long and illustrious career as a coach including forming the first men’s club volleyball team at Ball State in 1960. Dr. Shondell coached the men’s volleyball team for 34 seasons and holds the record for most wins by a coach in any sport at Ball State.

His career record of 769-280-6 also is the second-most wins by a head coach in NCAA men’s volleyball history.

From 1964 through 1998, Dr. Shondell received Coach of the Year honors eight times from the Midwest Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MIVA), the conference of which he was a co-founder and first president. Dr. Shondell led Ball State to 19 regular season MIVA titles, 12 MIVA Tournament championships and 13 NCAA Men’s Volleyball Championship tournament berths.

Shondell carried off the court in 1998 (Photo provided by Ball State University)

“Don Shondell was a friend to Ball State, an icon in our Muncie community, and a pioneer in the sport of volleyball,” Ball State University President Geoffrey S. Mearns said. “Through his extraordinary contributions to our university and the sport, his unmatched legacy lives on in so many of our current and past student athletes. We are deeply indebted to Dr. Shondell for the impact he made on so many lives – as a coach, teacher, and friend to us all.”

Dr. Shondell served as the president of the United States Volleyball Association (USVBA) from 1979-80, was inducted into the Ball State Athletics Hall of Fame in 1983 and was the first recipient of the Mikasa Lifetime Achievement Award in 1989.

In 1996, Dr. Shondell was inducted into the International Volleyball Hall of Fame.

Ball State officially opened the Dr. Don Shondell Practice Center in July of 2018.

“Dr. Shondell’s impact on the Ball State Athletics Department was transformational in every role he served,” said Beth Goetz, director of athletics at Ball State University. “His amazing legacy will never be forgotten, and we are forever grateful that current student-athletes, alumni, and future Cardinals will experience that impact every time they walk into the Dr. Don Shondell Practice Center for generations to come.”

Dr. Shondell is survived by his three sons and one daughter: Steve, a former women’s volleyball coach at Ball State and girl’s volleyball coach at Burris Laboratory School; Dave, the head women’s volleyball head coach at Purdue University; John, who is Dave’s assistant at Purdue and Kim.

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