EIVA Hall of Fame Inductee: Bob Sweeney
In the weeks leading up to the EIVA Championship match,
EIVAvolleyball.com will feature each of the six inductees into the
league’s inaugural Hall of Fame Class. The EIVA is in its
40th year as the leading men’s volleyball
conference in the east after being founded as the Eastern
Collegiate Volleyball League (ECVL) in 1971 and changing its name
The fact that his name is on the EIVA Coach of the Year award should be the first indication of the impact that Bob Sweeney has had on eastern collegiate volleyball. During his time at East Stroudsburg, he posted a 381-224 record on the men’s volleyball side before retiring in 1994; he also earned a 383-199 career mark on the women’s side.
“[Being inducted into the Hall of Fame] is quite an honor,” said Sweeney. “The people’s whose names are with me are distinguished in making the EIVA a viable institution that had a lot to do with the beginning of men’s collegiate volleyball in the NCAA.”
Sweeney acted as both the president and the treasurer of the EIVA and was a key factor in the expansion of men’s volleyball on the east coast, altering the conference structure to help both club and varsity teams develop and gain support at their respective institutions.
“His induction validates his contributions to the sport of men’s volleyball, not only at ESSC/ESU but the entire NCAA national picture,” said Dave DeNure, who played for Sweeney from 1975-1979 and then coached with him after graduation. “Bob always had a great ability to communicate and bring people together. He spent countless hours uniting and promoting the ECVL/EIVA.”
On the national scene, Sweeney served on several men’s and women’s NCAA volleyball, USA Volleyball and AVCA committees while fighting to elevate his own team from club to varsity status.
I remember [moving from club to varsity] was a huge lift and gave us credibility,” remembered DeNure. “Like any coach he had his mannerisms and we joked with him and he had the ability to laugh with his players. I have thought back many times and marveled at how he got our teams to gel and be cohesive with all the crazy personalities. He had that special ability to get guys to work together.”
Sweeney received the EIVA Leadership and Service Award in 1994, was inducted into the Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Hall of Fame in 1995, the East Stroudsburg University Hall of Fame in 1996 and the AVCA Hall of Fame in 2005.
“I always appreciated and respected Bob when I played for him; I genuinely liked him as a person,” said DeNure. “I then became his grad assistant and learned about all the things that go into coaching that you don’t realize when you are a player. He taught me the ropes and was my mentor. Bob took a sabbatical leave and I filled in the year for him and got my start in coaching. He inspired me to be a coach, which has been my profession since 1980. I had great success as an individual and Bob was my biggest promoter. Our teams were very successful and we competed with the best in the East. We overachieved mostly because Bob united us and motivated us to believe that we were among the elite teams.”
Story Courtesy of Jen Armson-Dyer, EIVA Communications Director
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