Notable Alumni – Gold medalist Karch Kiraly leads Olympic volleyball team in Rio

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Volleyball legend alumnus Karch Kiraly (’83) is the head coach of the United States women’s indoor volleyball team competing in the 2016 Olympics.

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Charles Frederick “Karch” Kiraly was an assistant coach for the women’s volleyball team at the 2012 London Olympics, but Rio will be his first Games as a head coach and he enters the Games at the helm of the No. 1 team in the world.

Kiraly won Olympic gold medals in indoor volleyball in 1984 and 1988. At the 1996 Atlanta games (pictured right), he became the only player (man or woman) to win Olympic gold in both indoor and outdoor volleyball, earning a total of three gold medals.

While a biochemistry undergraduate student in the early 1980s, Kiraly led the Bruin volleyball team to a 124-5 record from 1979-82, including three NCAA titles and a runner-up finish. When UCLA won the 1981 NCAA Championship he was named Most Outstanding Player.

He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biochemistry in 1983, graduating

cum laude

with a 3.55 grade-point average. 

He was inducted into the Bruins’ Hall of Fame in 1992, and the Volleyball Hall of Fame in 2001. In 2009 he was inducted into the California Sports and College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-America hall of fame.

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The 1988 gold-medal winning U.S. Olympic team featured four former UCLA greats (left to right): Doug Partie, Dave Saunders, Karch Kiraly and Ricci Luyties.

Learn more about UCLA’s Olympians by reading UCLA Newsroom’s “The 23 highlights of UCLA’s Olympic glory”.

The New York Times has written two nice pieces about Kiraly – 6/18/16 and 8/5/16.

Photos courtesy of UCLA.