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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, March 16, 2016 8:38 am

A fond farewell to Arnie Ball

Aubree Reichel / The Journal Gazette

Arnie Ball has been the face of IPFW and the men’s volleyball program for the past 35 years.

He once served as the men’s and women’s volleyball coach and athletic director in his time at the university but ultimately decided to focus all his attention on the men’s program.

With him, IPFW appeared in seven Final Four games and appeared in one championship game.

The Mastodons’ 3-2 loss against Lindenwood in the MIVA quarterfinals was Ball’s last game at the head of the program.

The hole in the athletic department will be difficult to fill but his impact will never be forgotten.

Kelley Hartley Hutton, IPFW Athletic Director:

"He meant everything to the school and the program. From the ground up. I started here as a coach in 1999 for volleyball, I called my friends and people found out where I was going, it wasn’t about IPFW, it was, ‘Oh! Arnie Ball!’ It’s overwhelming when you start to think about the number of people in this community that either through teaching, when he was a high school educator and coach, of course here, it seems like everyone in the community knows or is somehow connected to Ball."

Andy Sellan, 2014 All-American Honorable Mention:

"It’s disappointing to end his long and distinguished career with a loss at home, but an 18-win season is still an accomplishment to be proud of. I’m so fortunate to have been his player for the past four years and so proud of call him a friend and mentor.

"Although he won’t be head coach going forward, IPFW will still be his home and we are still his family.

"I came to IPFW to play for coach Ball and that was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

"On and off the court, he has affected so many and it will be saddening to see him go, but his legacy lives on and his name and IPFW men’s volleyball will continue to be synonymous."

JW Kieckhefer, Graduate Assistant

"Being here for now my sixth year, he’s been a big part of my life. He’s guided me from the kid I was coming in here to the man I am today. He taught me to work hard for everything you get and don’t take an opportunity for granted and take advantage of everything you’ve got. 

"I think it showed in our resiliency today that we never quit. We worked our butts off to get back into that match and we had the opportunity to win it and that’s just something he always teaches and always preaches. Give yourself an opportunity and try to take advantage and Lindenwood took advantage of it tonight. 

"He’s been an amazing part of my life and he’s been an amazing part of my life and something that he’s been able mentor me for a long, long time and I’ll always appreciate that and he’ll always be close to me, no matter what happens."

Lloy Ball, Arnie’s son:

"I don’t know if you can put it into words. People talk about filling the shoes of the predecessor but these are pretty big shoes and I’m not sure if anyone will ever fill them. He started the program, he led the program to seven Final Fours, coached the men’s and women’s team, he’s an icon not only to the university but to the city and the game and, of course, the Ball family. There’s not a bigger hero in my life than Arnie Ball so I’m very proud of him and I look forward to giving him a big hug as soon as we’re done here.

"I think the thousands of student-athletes’ lives he touched. There’s not a day that goes by that says, ‘Hey, Coach Ball! Hey, professor Ball! Hey, Mister Ball! Do you remember me from this or that?’ Just the thousands of young people he helped mentor and put on the right path. That’s his greatest accomplishment, not his wins and losses."

Alex Harthaller, IPFW freshman outside hitter:

"It is an honor to have such a legend as a coach. He’s accomplished so much and he’s a hall of famer and has so many awards and to have him as a mentor this season gave us a lot. You can learn so much from him. He understands this game so well."

Nick Smalter, junior outside hitter:

"He’s really taught me a lot. I’ve learned a lot from him. He’s a great coach and I’ll miss him."