Eugene Selznick

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Eugene Bleecher Selznick[1] (March 19, 1930 – June 10, 2012) was an American Hall of Fame former volleyball player, and volleyball coach.[2][3]

Early life[edit]

Selznick, who was Jewish, was born in Los Angeles, California.[4][5][6][7] He also lived in Canoga Park, California.[8] Selznick attended Manual Arts High School in Los Angeles.[9] He was a physical education major in college, and first began to play volleyball in 1949.[7]

Volleyball career[edit]

Volleyball teams that Selznick played on won seven U.S. Open Volleyball Championships: in 1951–53, 1956 (w/Hollywood YMCA), 1960, 1965 (w/Los Angeles’ Westside Jewish Community Center), and 1966 (w/Santa Monica Sand & Sea Club), and seven runner-up titles.[4] He was the USA Volleyball (USVBA) MVP in 1959, 1960, and 1962.[10]

He was captain of the United States men's national volleyball team for 17 consecutive years (1953–67).[4] His teams won the 1960 and 1966 Volleyball World Championships.[4][10][11]

Selznick's teams also won Pan-American Games gold medals in 1955 and 1959.[5][10] He was a member of the U.S. volleyball team at the Maccabiah Games in 1957, 1961, and 1973.[12]

He was an early supporter of California beach volleyball, and was designated the “First King of Beach Volleyball”.[4][11][13][14] Selznick played with Ev Keller to win the 1950 State (CA) Beach Men’s Open.[2][4] He later played with partner Don McMahon.[4] He won every Laguna Beach Open from 1955 to 1961.[10]

Selznick introduced Wilt Chamberlain to volleyball, and took him on a national tour in the 1970s.[10]

Coaching career[edit]

Selznick coached the US women's volleyball team, which won the gold medal at the 1963 Pan American Games and the 1964 Olympic Games.[4] He also coached women’s teams that won six USVBA titles (1959–61, and 1963–65).[4] His Nick’s Fish Market (L.A.) Women’s Team won national championships in 1978 and 1979.[4]

At the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Selznick coached Sinjin Smith and Carl Henkel.[4] In 2000, he coached Misty May and Holly McPeak, who qualified for the Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia.[4][11]


Selznick was named to the All America first team 10 times, beginning in 1951.[2][4][10][15] He won the 1956 international competition All-Star team MVP honor of "Mr. All-World".[4]

In 1966, he was the first American ever to be named to the FIVB All-World Volleyball Team.[2][4][10]

The FIVB named Selznick one of the two top American players of the 20th century, with Karch Kiraly.[4] The U.S. Volleyball Hall of Fame honored him as the Most Valuable Player of the 75th Anniversary Men’s 1953–77 All-Era Team, and the “All-Time Great Male Player”.[4] In 1995, Volleyball magazine called him the "Karch Kiraly of his era."[2]

Selznick was elected to the Volleyball Hall of Fame in 1988.[2][4][10] He was inducted into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 2002.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ According to the State of California. California Birth Index, 1905-1995. Center for Health Statistics, California Department of Health Services, Sacramento, California. Searchable at
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Gene Selznick; United States". Beach Volleyball Database. Retrieved August 18, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Beach volleyball legend Gene Selznick dies in LA - -". Retrieved 2012-06-12. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s "Eugene Selznick". International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. Retrieved August 18, 2011. 
  5. ^ a b Bernard Postal, Jesse Silver, Roy Silver (1965). Encyclopedia of Jews in sports. Bloch Pub. Co. Retrieved August 18, 2011. 
  6. ^ Bob Wechsler (2008). Day by day in Jewish sports history. Retrieved August 18, 2011. 
  7. ^ a b Encyclopedia of Jews in sports. October 9, 2008. Retrieved August 18, 2011. 
  8. ^ Baxter Holmes, "Gene Selznick Dies at 82," Los Angeles Times, June 12, 2012
  9. ^ "Gymnast Sakamoto Inducted into LAUSD High School Sports Hall of Fame". June 8, 2011. Retrieved August 18, 2011. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h "Honorees". Volleyball Hall of Fame. Retrieved August 18, 2011. 
  11. ^ a b c Misty May-Treanor, Jill Lieber Steeg (2010). Misty: Digging Deep in Volleyball and Life. Simon and Schuster. Retrieved August 18, 2011. 
  12. ^ "Maccabi Volleyball". Maccabi Volleyball. Retrieved 2012-06-12. 
  13. ^ Karch Kiraly, Byron Shewman (1999). Beach volleyball. Retrieved August 18, 2011. 
  14. ^ Victoria Sherrow (2002). Volleyball. Lucent Books. Retrieved August 18, 2011. 
  15. ^ United States Olympic Committee (1957). United States Olympic book. Retrieved August 18, 2011. 

External links[edit]