Editor's note: In honor of the university's centennial year, The Daily News is counting down 100 days to the university's celebration Sept. 6 with 100 of Ball State's most famous traditions and figures. Check back each day to read about Cardinal history.
As the only Ball State sports program to reach 1,000 wins while holding a winning percentage above .700, the men’s volleyball team has been a model of consistency throughout its 55-year history.
The founder of the program, Ball State graduate Dr. Don Shondell, became one of the most recognizable names in the volleyball world. He was inducted into the National Volleyball Hall of Fame in 1996 and is the only Cardinal to receive that honor.
In his 34 seasons as the program’s coach, Shondell guided Ball State to 14 NCAA Tournament appearances and 20 Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MIVA) regular season championships, amassing 769 wins to become the second-winningest coach in men’s volleyball history behind UCLA’s Al Scates.
Schondell also was co-founder of the MIVA, the conference’s first president and an eight-time MIVA Coach of the Year. He was inducted into the Ball State Athletic Hall of Fame in 1983 and received the Mikasa Sporting Goods Lifetime Achievement Award for Service in the Sport of Volleyball in 1988.
His successor, current head coach and Ball State Class of 1988 member Joel Walton, has led the program since Shondell’s retirement in 1998. During his time with the program, Walton has led the Cardinals to an NCAA Tournament appearance in 2002 after winning the MIVA regular season championship and tournament.
The highest ranking the program has achieved under Walton was No. 6 in 2003 and 2008, the highest since it was ranked No. 5 in the final poll of the 1995 season.
Throughout the team’s history, 26 of its players have accumulated 46 All-American honors.
Phil Eatherton, one of three players from the program to play for the USA Men’s Volleyball National Team, helped guide the team to the bronze medal match in the 2004 Olympics where it fell to Russia.
As a program known throughout the volleyball world, Ball State men’s volleyball has seen national success, while continuing to be a force in the MIVA.