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OVA Hall of Fame: Builders (John & Val Long)

Posted on 06/12/2018

John started playing volleyball in his native Switzerland. In Canada, his playing experience includes setting for the U of T Varsity Blues, playing in the Ontario leagues, and, finally, competing at the Golden Masters level in the USVBA National Championships.
After graduating from the University of Toronto, John taught physical education for 31 years in Etobicoke Middle Schools, coaching numerous volleyball, track & field, cross-country championship teams before retiring in 1998.

During the past five decades, John served on the OVA Region 5 Board of Directors, conducted clinics for referees, and officiated at competitions ranging from local to international levels of play and continues to Lead the Toronto West Volleyball Club in his role as President.

Val hails from Etobicoke where she achieved all-star fame in many sports, including volleyball, at Burnhamthorpe Collegiate. Her playing experience includes playing varsity at the University of Waterloo, then excelling as captain and setter for the University of Toronto Varsity Blues and, finally, playing OVA club ball with TORONTO WEST. Over the years, Val and her teams won many medals and championships at provincial, national and international tournaments.

After graduating from U. of T. with an Honours Bachelor of Physical and Health Education degree, Val taught physical education while gaining her coaching credentials by successfully completing her NCCP Level 3 certification (Level 4 Technical) and Level 2 in Beach. During her 30+ years of active coaching, Val distinguished herself by coaching many championship teams-- from grassroots school teams, to provincial and national levels, to coaching an American Masters team at U.S. National Championships. Val can be credited with developing numerous university volleyball "Hall of Famers" as well as players of Olympic and professional calibre, notably 1984 Olympian, Alex Ketrzynski and Italian Pro All-Star, Australian 2000 Olympic Men's Head Coach and recent Canadian Men's National Team Head Coach, Stelio DeRocco.

Together, John and Valerie founded The Toronto West Volleyball Club in 1969 with the inception of a Ladies Intermediate team. A Men's Intermediate team was added in 1973-74 and TORONTO WEST expanded in 1976-77 to include Boys and Girls teams. Since 1989 TORONTO WEST has been serving Etobicoke and the Western Toronto community with developmental and competitive programs for boys and girls from ages 8U through 18U for both indoor and beach programming.

Over the past half century, Toronto West has produced many excellent Provincial, National and International results under the inspiration and technical direction of the Longs. Congratulations Val and John on your inductions to the 2018 Hall of Fame in the Paul and Shelley Brownstein Builder category.