MUNCIE — Dr. Don Shondell, a volleyball legend who helped Ball State start its men's volleyball program, died Tuesday night at 92.
“Don Shondell was a friend to Ball State, an icon in our Muncie community, and a pioneer in the sport of volleyball,” Ball State University President Geoffrey S. Mearns said in a press release. “Through his extraordinary contributions to our university and the sport, his unmatched legacy lives on in so many of our current and past student athletes. We are deeply indebted to Dr. Shondell for the impact he made on so many lives - as a coach, teacher, and friend to us all.”
Don, a 1952 alumnus of Ball State, founded men's volleyball at the university in 1960. He worked to make men's volleyball a varsity sport at the university, despite opposition, according to the university.
Don finished his career at the university with a record of 769-280-6. He holds the record for the most career wins by a Ball State coach in any sport, according to the university.
“Dr. Shondell’s impact on the Ball State Athletics Department was transformational in every role he served,” Beth Goetz, director of athletics at Ball State, said in the press release. “His amazing legacy will never be forgotten, and we are forever grateful that current student-athletes, alumni and future Cardinals will experience that impact every time they walk into the Dr. Don Shondell Practice Center for generations to come.”
In July 2018, the university opened a practice facility named after him. The 19,000 gross square feet facility has a two regulation-size courts and are used by both volleyball and basketball teams.
Tributes are pouring in on social media from across the country.
It’s been an emotional ride with Dr. Don’s illness & passing last night. John & I are so thankful for the out-pouring of kindness & support for our father. We were blessed to call him Dad. We are in the gym w/ @PurdueVB this am. There is no place we’d rather be right now. pic.twitter.com/TzLahb7Uuj— Dave Shondell (@DaveShondell) November 24, 2021
From Dave Shondell which started at Daleville High School, then went to Muncie Central to now a legend at Purdue Volleyball who is ranked # 6 in the nation. To Steve Shondell coaching at Burris having 20+ State Titles in a row to being great success at Ball state University (which I was one of his recruits.) To John Shondell being great success at Boiler Jrs winning a national championship. To having great success being the assistant at Purdue with his brother. They all have followed in Don's footsteps their father. As many coaches and players as myself have kept his mentorship and leadership alive to what Muncie Volleyball is all about! Shondell family are such great people, and mentors. From personal experience of knowing all of them they are simply amazing and always remembered as Don Shondell the father will be forever.
The Penn State men’s volleyball program offers its condolences to the family and friends of Dr. Don Shondell. He is a legendary figure within the volleyball community and we’re so incredibly thankful to have competed against him and his @BallStateMVB teams for so many seasons.— Penn State Men's Volleyball (@PennStateMVBALL) November 24, 2021
The volleyball community lost a legend last night. My thoughts and prayers are with the Shondell family.🙏 RIP Dr. Don Shondell. We have met only a couple of times, but I will never forget your grace and kindness.— Danijela Tomic (@CoachTomic) November 24, 2021
The Men’s Volleyball community lost a legend with the passing of Dr. Don Shondell. A true legend that impacted countless lives. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Shondell family.— CRHS Boys Volleyball (@CRHS_boysvb) November 24, 2021
Volleyball lost a legend. Condolences to our head coach and the rest of the Shondell family. What a life and career he had. Our program and so many more have him to thank for existing. Thank you Dr. Don Shondell for spreading volleyball through the Midwest like wildfire. pic.twitter.com/AjlawPcBJe— Indiana Tech Men's Volleyball (@INTechMVB) November 24, 2021
The Men’s Volleyball community lost a legend with the passing of Dr. Don Shondell. A true legend that impacted countless lives. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Shondell family and @BallStateMVB.— Trine Men's Volleyball (@TrineMVB) November 24, 2021
Just heard the news that Don Shondell passed. He had a remarkable impact on the sport, but especially in the men’s game. Don was a great man who influenced countless lives for the better. He will be missed. My condolences to the @BallStateMVB community and the Shondell family.— Kevin Burch (@Coach_KJB) November 24, 2021
The volleyball community lost a legend last night with the passing of Dr. Don Shondell. He is the trunk of the vball family tree. Thoughts and prayers to the whole Shondell Family and everyone inspired by Coach. @izzysimonsen pic.twitter.com/sTICPnEvUx— Lawrence Central Volleyball (@LCHSBearVBall) November 24, 2021
We are saddened to learn of Dr. Don Shondell’s passing. Dr. Shondell directly influenced our own Coach Nelson and helped guide him on his life’s path. Our thoughts are with the Shondell and @BallStateMVB families.— Vegas United VC (@VegasVball) November 24, 2021