FORT WAYNE – Before longtime volleyball rivals IPFW and Ball State meet at 7 p.m. today at the Gates Center, IPFW dignitaries will ask coach Arnie Ball to step forward for a moment of recognition of a career that has spanned more than four decades.
Even though Ball was inducted into the American Volleyball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in December in Louisville, Ky., IPFW will honor the coach who has led the Mastodons to more than 500 wins, including an NCAA tournament runner-up finish in 2007. The Monroeville native and former Ball State volleyball captain says he isnt sure of the ceremonys particulars, or even if hell be asked to speak. If hes asked, he knows what hell say.
You thank all the people that have been tremendously supportive of you over the last 45 years that Ive been doing this, and all of the relationships Ive built up over the last 45 years – the players, the parents, coaches, administrators, Ball said. Ive gotten a chance to meet some wonderful people and travel all over the world doing this crazy thing. What else can you say but thank you?
It will be the first of two home matches for IPFW (9-8) this week. The Mastodons, who have already beaten Ball State (12-5) this season, face eighth-ranked Ohio State (15-3) on Saturday.
In accumulating 531 wins in his career, Ball has guided IPFW to six NCAA Final Four appearances, six MIVA championships and has coached two Olympic athletes, including his four-time Olympian son, Lloy, who led the USA team to the gold medal in the 2008 Games in Beijing.
I dont know how a father could write a better script than what I have been blessed with, with my son and all the things that hes done on the court that Ive gotten to share, and all the things he did for me and our program, Arnie Ball said. I dont know how you describe that, other than in a humble way of how fortunate the good Lord has been to us to give us all these opportunities.
Another former player and current assistant, Ryan (Rock) Perrotte, has been at Balls side for the past 16 seasons.
Of course the words that come up are legendary, mentor, educator, teacher, motivator, Perrotte said. He has been, at least for me, an individual with character, honesty, unbelievable worth ethic, distinguished, and professional through it all.
Athletes of note
IPFWs Amanda Hyde was named to the Summit Leagues academic all-conference womens basketball first team. Hyde, a junior, led the conference in scoring with an 18.6 average. She also owns a 4.0 grade-point average in mathematics education. Lewis junior Andrew
McLain (Homestead) reached All-America status in indoor track by finishing in eighth place in the 5,000-meter race at the NCAA Division II championships in Birmingham, Ala. His time was 14:20. Saint Francis shortstop Melissa Harber (Homestead) was named Crossroads League Player of the Week. Trine senior Ian Jackson was selected to the National Association of Basketball Coaches Great Lakes All-District first team. Jackson led the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association in scoring with a 21.0 average. Indiana Tech senior Josh Miller was named WHAC baseball pitcher of the week. Miller came within two outs of a no-hitter in an 8-0 victory over Spring Arbor. Tech junior Dontaey Paige (Heritage) and senior Adella King were named NAIAs mens and womens outdoor track athletes of the week. At the recent Coastal Carolina invitational, Paige broke the Indiana Tech record in the 100-meter dash with a time of 10.55. He also helped the Warriors to a school-record 41.39 in the 400-meter relay. King won the 100- and 200-meter dashes in 11.36 and 23.38, the latter a meet record.