SBVC alumnus from the early 1970’s, Eugene "Gene" Selznick died last Sunday, June 10 in Los Angeles. His influence on men’s pro beach volleyball was so significant, that he was nicknamed, “Mr. Volleyball.”
Selznick played Men’s Volleyball for SBVC in 1973 and was co-head coach in 1975 with famed head coach, Gene Mazzei. In 1976, Selznick was co-head coach again, this time under Gene Melcher. Selznick’s son, Dane, was National Junior College All-American (NJCAA) selection for SBVC in 1975 and 1976.
He organized and played volleyball with Wilt Chamberlain’s “Big Dippers” and was a member of seven U.S. Open Volleyball Champions. Selznick was a three time USVBA MVP and coached the Team USA men’s beach volleyball duo of Carl Henkel & “Sinjin” Smith at the 1996
Atlanta Olympics. In the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Selznick coached the Team USA women’s beach volleyball duo of Holly McPeak and Misty May-Trainer.
Selznick’s effect on pro beach volleyball is immeasurable and was named to the Volleyball Hall of Fame in 1988, the Southern California Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 1990, the California Beach Volleyball Association Hall of Fame in 1992, the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 2002 and the Los Angeles High Schools Hall of Fame in 2011.
Special thanks to historian and retired SBVC professor, Roger Schmidt, for providing the biographical information contained herein. And a special thanks to SBVC Director of Athletics, David Rubio, for providing the pictures and historical program information.