Karch Kiraly - Born In Jackson, Michigan
Michigan Born in Jackson
The son of Laszlo and Toni (Iffland) Kiraly, he was born in Jackson, Michigan, on November 3, 1960. Shortly after his birth, the family moved to San Clemente, California, where Kiraly grew up. When he was 6 years old, he began to play volleyball with his father, who had played the game for a junior national team in Hungary before immigrating to the United States. Asked by an interviewer for CBS SportsLine.com if he was any good at first, Kiraly replied that "all I wanted to do at first was keep the ball going back and forth 10 times, 20, 50, and so on. So no, I was not any good when I first started, but improvement seemed to come steadily, and it was a big advantage starting so much younger than almost any other player." Kiraly entered his first beach volleyball tournament when he was 11. He played on the volleyball team at Santa Barbara High School and in 1978 was named the most valuable player (MVP) in California high schools. During his senior year, Kiraly's team was undefeated winning 83 matches. Kiraly has credited his high school coach, Rick Olm-stead, with teaching him the value of hard work and
dedication, lessons that have served him well throughout his amateur and professional careers.
After graduating from high school, Kiraly enrolled at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) to study biochemistry. Playing on his college volleyball team as a setter and a hitter, he led the team to first place in its conference three out of four years. In his first year in the Pacific Rim Tournament, Kiraly was named MVP. His team played a total of 125 matches during Kiraly's four years at UCLA. A year after receiving his bachelor's degree from UCLA, he played in the Olympics, leading his team to the gold medal. At 23, Kiraly was the youngest player on the U.S. team, but he nevertheless played in all 19 games of Olympic competition, more than any of his teammates. During the Olympic Games, he connected on 74 out of 158 spike attempts, in recognition of which he was awarded the FIVB (Federation Internationale de Volleyball) Sportsmanship Award. For Kiraly, it signaled the beginning of an outstanding career in professional volleyball.