Don Shondell, longtime BSU men’s volleyball coach, dies at 92

Don Shondell, who coached the Ball State University men’s volleyball team to 13 NCAA tournament appearances, has died at age 92.

The university announced that Shondell died Tuesday. Shondell, who was frequently referred to as the father of Indiana volleyball, coached the Ball State team for 34 years until he retired in 1998.

His career coaching record was 769-280-6 and he still ranks second all-time for NCAA coaching victories in men’s volleyball.

Shondell, a 1952  Ball State graduate, formed the first men’s club volleyball team at Ball State in 1960 and spent the next four years to make men’s volleyball a varsity sport.

Ball State President Geoffrey Mearns called Shondell, who also was a professor and author, an icon in the Muncie community and a pioneer in volleyball.

His son Steve Shondell is a former Ball State women’s volleyball coach who led Muncie Burris to 21 state girl’s high school volleyball championships. Another son, Dave Shondell, has been the Purdue University women’s volleyball coach since 2003.

Steve Shondell said he believed his father had as much influence on the sport as any coach in the country, teaching coaches across the Midwest and promoting the sport. Dozens of players who played for Shondell at Ball State went into coaching, including several who led their teams to NCAA titles or state championships.

On July 20, 2018, Ball State officially opened the Dr. Don Shondell Practice Center—a practice gymnasium containing two regulation-size courts designed specifically for the volleyball and basketball programs, in addition to a training room for taping and treatment, two team meeting rooms, and a video room.

“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, in written remarks. “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.”

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