The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Stork delivers!

As a volleyball player, Jeff Stork has won everything there is to win. As the head coach of the CSUN women’s volleyball team, Stork said there’s more to accomplish.

“Playing-wise it was an incredible career,” Stork said. “Coaching-wise my career isn’t over yet and there’s a few things left to accomplish. There’s a couple disappointments in my career, but on the whole, I’ve got a sack full of medals.”

Stork does, indeed, have a sack full of medals. He is a three-time Olympian (1988, 1992, 1996) and was the starting setter in 1988 when the United States won the gold medal in Seoul, South Korea.

In addition to playing for the U.S National Team for 10 years (1985-92 and 1995-96), Stork played professional volleyball in Italy from 1989 to 1994 and was named Italian League MVP in 1993.

Stork also played beach volleyball for five years and is the only two-time MVP of the Bud Light 4-Man League, winning the award in the 1991 inaugural season and again in 1994. Beach volleyball allowed him to play year-round, Stork said.

“It was actually quite popular and it fit me very well because with 4-on-4 there’s more going on offensively,” Stork said. “So, as a setter, in the summer months I would still be playing the same game I would be playing indoors.”

Stork grew up in Topanga and was an all-around athlete with good hand-eye coordination, he said. But, living in Topanga, Stork didn’t have the luxury of being able to drive around, or be driven to, competitions and so he did a lot of skateboarding and surfing.

The only sport that Stork competed in prior to volleyball was diving at Taft High School in Woodland Hills. Stork said it didn’t last long, however, because he went through a major growth spurt.

“It’s not that picturesque to see a big person going through the air with big feet and knobby knees,” Stork said.

Instead, Stork was steered to volleyball by his brothers. He said he remembers coming to CSUN when he was 12 years old with his brother, who played intramurals here. In high school, his other brother, who played on Taft’s volleyball team, encouraged him to come out for the team.

“I came out for the team in the 11th grade and I have been playing ever since,” Stork said.

Stork played volleyball for two years in high school and then worked for a year in concrete construction. He attended Pierce College for about a year and a half before deciding he needed a four-year degree. Although he didn’t play volleyball while at Pierce, Stork joined a club team called Nautilus Pacifica and gained exposure while playing tournaments with different university coaches.

“I met up with Marv Dunphy in Amarillo, Texas and he recruited me to Pepperdine,” Stork said.

Stork played at Pepperdine for three years, earning All-American honors each of those years. He was a graduate assistant coach and then administrative assistant for a year.

“Then it was the national team after that,” Stork said. “What turned out to be, ‘Hey, I need a degree,’ turned into something pretty significant.”

Stork’s impact on the game has been very significant and he’s considered one of the greatest setters of all time, selected in 2003 as one of 12 players named to the USA Volleyball Men’s (1978-2002) 75th Anniversary All-Era Team.

“To separate out an individual from such a team sport is real hard to do,” Stork said. “I would just throw it back at you and say I had great passers. I had great hitters. I had great coaches.”

Stork lives with his wife, Sabine, and his three children: Matthew, Daniel and Nicoletta in Topanga, in the house in which he grew up.

“Topanga is a little oasis away from the big city,” Stork said. “If I had more time, I could relax up there.”

Coaching doesn’t leave a lot of time for Stork to relax, though. Although he cycles for fitness and enjoys playing golf, but, he hasn’t played for a couple of months, he said. In addition to CSUN, Stork also does some coaching for his children, who play for the Santa Monica Beach Club.

“I do the best I can to get involved with my kid’s volleyball,” Stork said.

So far, this has included coaching Daniel in the 14-and-under club team in the junior Olympics club division and Matthew in the 17-and-under open junior Olympics, which won the gold medal last July. Stork hasn’t yet coached his daughter’s team.

“I’m watching with a lot of interest,” Stork said.

Meanwhile, Stork has just completed his sixth season as head coach for the CSUN women’s team, getting his 75th win this season.

“I’m really happy being at Northridge,” Stork said. “I think it’s a place where we can attract great students and we can be competitive in the Big West Conference.”

One thing Stork is particularly proud of is his team’s ability to succeed academically.

“We have the highest team GPA at the university, which I’m real happy with,” Stork said. “Last year I think it was (the highest) in the Big West.”

Seven members of CSUN’s team were named to the 2006 Big West All-Academic Team, the most in the conference. Stork said it’s a credit to the players and it’s easy to work with them.

“Coaching is working with kids and each day is unique and interesting. That’s one of the things I love about coaching – each day is slightly different,” Stork said.

One of Stork’s goals as a coach is for CSUN to one day win the conference title.

With all of his medals and achievements, does one stand out as more significant to Stork than the others?

“My next one as a coach,” Stork said.

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