Long Beach State dedicates locker room to Brian Gimmillaro, grave in Hawaii – The562.org

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The Long Beach State women’s volleyball team dedicated their locker room to perhaps the college’s greatest coach of all time in a private ceremony Saturday morning at the Walter Pyramid. The women’s volleyball locker room will now be known as the Brian Gimmillaro Locker Room. The team also honored Gimmillaro in a ceremony during Saturday night’s Long Beach State and Hawaii game at the Pyramid.

“I spoke to my daughter and my son and they told me great things about it,” Gimmillaro said as he sat pitchside to watch the game. “They both said it was cool. And my son said, ‘When you look at this, realize it’s not just your name on the wall. It symbolizes the hundreds of women who have had a positive effect on their lives. I thought that was really nice. And I hope that’s true.

Gimmillaro coached the 49ers from 1985 to 2016, winning three NCAA titles, three National Coach of the Year honors and making 28 NCAA appearances in 32 years of coaching. He has also coached more than 50 All-Americans and four AVCA National Players of the Year.

There was a big turnout from those alumni on Saturday, along with Misty May-Treanor and dozens of other former LBSU players. It was a beautiful moment of reflection for an accomplished coach, who didn’t allow himself many of those moments in the middle of his career.

“Oh that’s awful, you just have your blinders on when you train,” Gimmillaro said. “There are so many tough decisions that affect everyone, you can’t take time. But it’s nice.

Gimmillaro received an extended standing ovation after being recognized on the pitch, and it seemed like almost everyone in attendance had stopped at some point to say hello. After someone joked that he probably knew 1,000 of those in attendance, Gimmillaro smiled. “Much more than a thousand,” he said.

The evening wasn’t just a reunion for Gimmillaro, of course, it was also a special night for all the alumni who came out to support him.

“It’s like a wedding or something, we don’t always see each other like that,” said LBSU alum Laren Munkel, who was there with her AVCA beach volleyball national champion teammates Libby Fontanilla. and Jocelyn Neely. Other alumni and coaches gathered, with Gimmillaro’s longtime assistant and directing guru Debbie Green playing with the May-Treanor kids in the stands.

With the energy in the building, it was definitely like the good old days, even though the Beach and Rainbow Warriors weren’t ranked #1 and #2 in the nation like they sometimes were during meetings in the pyramid. First-year head coach Tyler Hildebrand has made re-energizing Beach’s fan base and alumni one of his big goals this year, and it’s obvious it’s working with over 2,300 fans in attendance on Saturday, the biggest crowd since 2016.

“Tyler is awesome, his assistants are great, and I just hope this team can bring back what was once here,” Gimmillaro said. “They have their own identity, but if it’s tonight or the next game of the next game, hopefully they can bring it back.”

If the crowd’s roar for the spirited beach comeback effort was any indication, they’re well on their way to achieving it. The Beach lost the first two sets 25-20, 25-21, but then came back strong to win set three 25-15 while hitting .400, before finally losing a deciding fourth set 25-19.

The range was led by 14 kills from Jaylen Jordan, 11 from Katie Kennedy and 10 from Morgan Chacon. Setter Zayna Meyer had 40 assists, Kameron Bacon had six blocks and Dylan Dela Cruz had 15 digs. They were statistically tied with Hawaii, which hasn’t been true for many seasons.

“We had four Olympians in the stands today, talking to them after they said, ‘Hey, it was an even game, just a few plays here or there went the other way,'” Hildebrand said. .

Meyer said it was inspiring for her to have so many fans showing up.

“It’s pretty amazing that our community presents itself this way, it’s pretty special with what we’re trying to do here,” she said. Meyer also said the presence of the Long Beach legends meant a lot to her.

“I love volleyball and it’s just breathtaking to have Misty May watch me play, to see these legends and to know that they’re supporting us in rebuilding this program,” she said.

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