William G. Morgan

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Inventor of Volleyball

The sport of volleyball has reached global popularity, with its origin being traced back to a Western New Yorker whose vision created one of the most participated sports in the world.

William G. Morgan was born in Lockport, NY in 1870 and later carried out his undergraduate studies at Springfield College in Massachusetts in 1892. There he met James Naismith, who in 1891 had invented the sport of basketball. Like Naismith, after graduation Morgan pursued a career in physical education at the YMCA (Young Men’s Christian Association). It was in Holyoke, Massachusetts in 1895 that Morgan invented a sport he named Mintonette, a less vigorous activity for participants that still required significant athletic skill. While watching Morgan demonstrate the game to his students, Dr. Alfred S. Halstead suggested the sport be renamed volleyball as the object of the game was to volley the ball back and forth over the net.

Morgan left the Holyoke YMCA in 1897 to pursue a career with General Electric and Westinghouse. He continued a strong tie with Springfield College and the game he created throughout the rest of his life stating that he was “content in the knowledge that the game brought a richer life to millions of people throughout the world”. Morgan passed away in 1942. He was inducted into the Springfield College Athletic Hall of Fame in 1978 and the Volleyball Hall of Fame in 1985.

The biographies contained on this website were written at the time of the honoree’s induction into the Hall of Fame. No attempt has been made to update these narratives to reflect more recent events, activities, or statistics.