Gene Selznick, 2017
Gene Selznick attended Manual Arts HS and Santa Monica College for the first part of his legendary volleyball playing career. He was the long-time captain of the USA National Team from 1953-67. During that time he started on the USA Pan-American Games teams that won Gold Medals in 1955 & 1959, plus won FIVB World Titles in 1960 and 66. In 1956 he was the first USA player to ever be named to the FIVB All-World Team. Selznick started on seven U.S. Open Volleyball Championship teams in 1951-53, 1956 (with the Hollywood YMCA), 1960, 65 (with the Los Angeles Westside Jewish CC), and 1966 (with the Santa Monica Sand & Sea Club). He also had seven second place finishes.
Selznick was the USVBA MVP in 1959, 60, & 62 and also a 10-time All-American. He was always known as an excellent training coach and was involved in coaching the USA women’s team to the 1963 Pan-American Games Gold Medal and helping the USA qualify for the 1964 Olympic Games. His women’s teams won six USVBA titles (1959-61, 1963-65), and his LA-based Nick’s Fish Market squad won two titles (1978 & 79). He was also a dominant beach player and was the first ‘King of the Beach’ for winning 38 of his 63 events. His son Dane followed his footsteps in becoming a successful beach and club coach. Gene is a member of the International & Southern California Jewish Sports Hall of Fames, the International VB HOF (1988), MVP of the USA 75th Anniversary Team (1953-77) and was selected ‘All-Time Great Male Player’ in 1982. He passed away on June 10, 2012.