Volleyball legend Matsudaira dies

Kyodo

Former men’s national volleyball team head coach Yasutaka Matsudaira, who steered the country to the gold medal at the 1972 Munich Olympics, died from a lung condition at a Tokyo hospital on Dec. 31, the Japan Volleyball Association said. He was 81.

A former player, Matsudaira was a member of the coaching staff when Japan won the bronze medal at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and became head coach the next year before going on to steer the team to silver in the Mexico Olympics in 1968 and then the gold in Munich.

After his coaching days he became the Japan Volleyball Association’s general secretary in 1979 and assumed the post of president in 1989. He also served as FIVB vice president and Asian association president.

In 1998, he became the first Japanese to be inducted into the Volleyball Hall of Fame.

Matsudaira was quoted as saying on the Volleyball Hall of Fame website that volleyball “was a heaven-sent present, like an orchestra,” with himself making strenuous efforts and devoting a lifetime of service to become the best conductor in the world.