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Karch Kiraly
Karch Kiraly.JPG
Personal information
Full name Charles Frederick Kiraly
Nickname Karch
Nationality  United States
Born November 3, 1960 ( 1960 -11-03) (age 49)
Santa Barbara, California,  United States
Hometown San Clemente, California,  United States
Height 188 cm (6 ft 2 in)
Weight 93 kg (210 lb)
Beach Volleyball information
Previous teammates
Years Teammate Tours (points)
2003 Brent Doble 120
Medal record
Men's Volleyball
Competitor for the  United States
Olympic Games
Gold 1984 Los Angeles Volleyball (indoor)
Gold 1988 Seoul Volleyball (indoor)
Gold 1996 Atlanta Beach Volleyball
World Championships
Gold 1986 Paris Team Competition
Goodwill Games
Silver 1986 Moscow Team Competition

Charles Frederick "Karch" Kiraly (pronounced /ˈkartʃ kɪˈrаɪ/; born November 3, 1960 in Jackson, Michigan), is an American volleyball player who is the only person to have won Olympic gold medals in both the indoor and beach versions of the sport.


High School Career

Kiraly started for the Santa Barbara High School Dons and his father Laszlo was instrumental in helping found the program. The Dons won the CIF SS title with Kiraly in 1978 over Laguna Beach High School under coach Rick Olmstead and were runners-up in 1976 to San Clemente High School.

College career

Kiraly started for the UCLA Bruins volleyball team from 1979 through 1982. He was named All America all four years.[1] While playing in UCLA's Pauley Pavilion under coach Al Scates, he led UCLA to three NCAA Men's Volleyball Championships in 1979 (undefeated season), 1981, and 1982 (undefeated season). During Kiraly's four years on the team, UCLA won 129 matches and lost only 5.[1]

Kiraly won Most Outstanding Player in 1981 and 1982. He was inducted into UCLA's Hall of Fame in 1993.[2]

At UCLA, Kiraly studied biochemistry and graduated cum laude in June 1983 with a 3.34 cumulative GPA.[1]

American national team

Kiraly was popularly called the "Thunderball in Volleyball." He went on to become a fixture on the national team through much of the 1980s as a passer/outside hitter in the "two-man" or "swing hitter" serve reception system created by Doug Beal in 1983.[3] Team USA would win Olympic gold medals in 1984 and 1988 with Kiraly. He was team captain for the 1988 Seoul Olympics, wearing #15, and was also named by FIVB (International Volleyball Federation) as the top player in the world in 1986 and 1988.

Beach volleyball career

After the 1988 Olympics, Kiraly retired from the national team. After a stint of professional club volleyball in Italy with Steve Timmons (playing for Il Messaggero Ravenna), he returned to the U.S. to play beach volleyball full time on the AVP tour. Kiraly has won 148 professional beach volleyball titles, and partnered with Kent Steffes to win the first men's Olympic beach volleyball tournament in 1996.

Even in his mid-40s, he continued to compete effectively against far younger players. Kiraly recorded two AVP tournament victoriess with his partner Brent Doble in 2002 and 2003, and four more with Mike Lambert in 2004 and 2005. Kiraly's most recent victory came in August 2005, when he and Lambert won an AVP tournament in Huntington Beach, California. In 2006, Kiraly partnered with Larry Witt, and in 2007, his partner was Kevin Wong. Kiraly has won over $3 million in beach volleyball (which is a record). Kiraly retired from the AVP tour after the 2007 season.[4]


As of 2008, Kiraly still works as a broadcaster for ESPN in addition to continuing color commentary for AVP on NBC broadcasts. Kiraly served as an analyst for NBC Sports coverage of Beach Volleyball at the 2008 Summer Olympics.[5]


Kiraly resides in San Clemente, California, with his wife Janna and two sons, Kristian and Kory. His father, Laszlo Kiraly, played for the Hungarian national volleyball team[6].

The nickname "Karch" is presumably derived from the Hungarian "Karcsi" (pronounced "KAR-chee"), which can be translated as "Charlie". It is a common derivative of Karoly, which is Charles. His last name, Kiraly, means "King".

He babysat Misty May-Treanor when he was younger.[7]

Kiraly currently coaches the boys' varsity volleyball team at St. Margaret's Episcopal High School in California.

Awards and honors

Kiraly was inducted into the Volleyball Hall of Fame in 2001.

Kiraly has been named as one of 2009's inductees into the College Sports Information Directors of America (COSIDA) Academic All-America Hall of Fame.[8]


  1. ^ a b c "Karch Kiraly at AVP.COM". Retrieved 2008-08-25.  
  2. ^ "UCLA Athletic Hall of Fame". CBS Interactive. Retrieved on 2009-07-07
  3. ^ "Doug Beal named CEO of USA Volleyball". USA Volleyball. 2004-11-12.  
  4. ^ Moore, David Leon (9/1/2007). "For volleyball legend Kiraly, one last day at the beach". USA Today. Retrieved on 2009-07-07
  5. ^ Frager, Ray (07/2008). "Medium Well: Your NBC Olympics lineup". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved on 2009-07-07
  6. ^ "Karch Kiraly". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2008-08-22.  
  7. ^ Jane Barrett (2008-07-24). "U.S. golden girls appear unstoppable". Reuters. Retrieved 2008-08-19.  
  8. ^ "The NCAA News: The Record". National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). May 11, 2009. Retrieved on 2009-07-07

External links

Preceded by
Par J. Arvidsson
Rowdy Gaines
Oliver Luck
Kenneth W. Sims
Lynette Woodard
NCAA Top Five Award
Class of 1983
Bruce Baumgartner
John Elway
Richard J. Giusto
Charles F. Kiraly
David R. Rimington
Succeeded by
John E. Frank
Beth Heiden
Terrell L. Hoage
Stefan G. Humphries
Steve Young

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