Kerri Pottharst Hall of Fame

MY INDUCTION INTO THE VOLLEYBALL HALL OF FAME


Australian Volleyball legend, Kerri Pottharst, is set to put the icing on what has been one of the most celebrated of volleyball careers. On the 11th of October this year, Pottharst will be inducted into the International Volleyball Hall of Fame in Holyoke, Massachusetts. It will be the 22nd volleyball enshrinement.


In a career which has spanned nearly three decades, and included three Olympics and two medals, a bronze (Atlanta, 1996) and gold (Sydney, 2000), it was only a matter of time before Pottharst was inducted. This award comes for Pottharst after being crowned, along with Natalie Cook, the “Best Women’s Beach Volleyball Teams of the Last Decade (1990 - 2000)” by the Federation Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) as a part of its “20th Century Best” Awards.


Kerri will go into the Hall of Fame as one of six volleyball inductees this year. The other five people entering the hall are American Bob Ctvrtlik, Italian Andrea Gardini, Bulgarian Dimitar Zlatanov, Brazilian Carlos Nuzman and China's Yuan Weimin.


You can find out more about the event and the volleyball Hall of Fame at www.volleyhall.org


Holyoke, Massachusetts USA - 2007

It all started back in 1981 when a High School friend of mine showed me how to set the ball so I could play in the school volleyball team with her.

 

Up until then, I was extremely sensitive about my height. I was a little over 6’ tall and felt incredibly self conscious. Now, all of a sudden, I had good reason to be tall. I was applauded and wanted for my physical ability.

 

Within months I was training with the state junior team and a little over two years later I was chosen to represent Australia in the Asian Junior Championships.

 

All I remember thinking in those first few years was that I wanted to be the best player in my team, I wanted to be the best player in Adelaide, then the best player in Australia and then possibly – dare I think it - be one of the best players in the World!

 

Step by step, bit by bit, I found myself weaving a pathway toward what I thought would be the top.

 

However, I never reached the top. I’m still trying to get there.  I believe there really is NO LIMIT to anyone’s ability. There is no “top.” My philosophy seemed to be that I could always be better.

 

I know that I frustrated my coaches, always asking what we were doing, why we were doing it and how I could do it better. I wanted to be able to do it all and do it in the best possible way.

 

To me, my dreams were never unrealistic. I always decided on a goal by speaking to my peers, my team mates and my coaches. Even if other Australians hadn’t done it before, I somehow knew that I could do it. Or, at least give it a damn good attempt.

 

Losses, being cut from teams, injuries, relationship woes – I had it all. But, somehow all this made me stronger.

 

All this shaped me into who I am today.

 

And today – I have finally squashed that last faint image of the tall, gangly, sensitive teenager.

 

Today, I had the most amazing honour of being inducted into the VOLLEYBALL HALL OF FAME in the USA.

 

There I was, sitting besides World Champions, Olympic Champions, absolute legends, amazing administrators that have helped build the sport into what it is today around the world. There I was, sitting in the Hall of Fame being recognised for my efforts in a sport that I continue to be involved with purely and simply because I love it.

 

That was when I realised that maybe, just maybe, I had achieved what I set out to – some 26 years ago.

 

 

What they say about her

  • Paul Smith
  • Sue Dansie

Kerri Pottharst is without doubt the most successful player (male or female) to play the sport of volleyball (indoor and beach) in Australia. Her results in both disciplines speak for themselves.

 

The greatest challenge for her was to translate that Australian success into performances that would see her place on top of the world. Her story isn’t about winning a gold medal, there was so much more to it than that. The story is in the re-discovery, the journey and the eventual realization of her dreams.

 

Kerri has now set herself a new challenge that promises to enhance the future direction of sport…..coaching.

 

The key quality that I believe will allow Kerri to transition her playing success into that of a successful coach is that when she played, she did so as a true student of the game. Never in my years as a player or a coach have I seen Kerri settle for second best – she is always striving for a better performance in everything she does. Her athletes will also inherit these essential success qualities.

 

Her success hasn’t come about through luck. To remain at the top of your game as long as Kerri has requires dedication to learning and understanding far beyond that of the physically gifted athlete who has achieved short term success.

 

It is this discipline, organisation, personal motivation and commitment that will be the hallmarks of her new career as a successful coach."

 

Paul Smith
Olympic Beach Volleyball Coach 1996, 2000, 2004
World Tour player 1989 - 92

Australian National Tour player 1988 - 94

 

("I wanted to include this message, because it made me so proud. It’s from the most influential person in my volleyball career. The lady that plucked me from obscurity and shaped me into the player I became - Sue Dansie, from South Australia." Kerri)

 

“Congratulations Kerri!!! Wow! - What icing on the cake that is!

 

To be so highly regarded internationally from within your sport is certainly a credit to you and the unswerving dedication and enthusiasm you have to be the best.

 

Let me tell you, I was really proud of you -yet again. The people who matter, know.”

 

Sue Dansie

One of Kerri’s first volleyball coaches

 

Kerri's response:

 

“Hi Sue,

I’m so glad I went. I wasn't going to. It cost quite a bit to get there and I was away from the family for 10 days, but it was all worth it.

 

I felt so damned honoured. You have no idea!! I was so humbled by it.

 

Ever since I started playing volleyball, back with the De Lucas at Eastwood Volleyball Club, I wanted to be the best.

 

So, standing there being inducted with all those other legends and my heroes was a surreal moment.

 

I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for being one of the first coaches that saw potential in me and took me under their wings.

 

You are clearly the one person that I will always credit for building the foundation that took me to the great heights of the Olympic Games.

 

 

So, thank you. You are part of this award and I’ll always love you for it.”