Holly McPeak 

Class of 2011
Active: 1987 - 2009
72 Open Victories


Growing up in a volleyball family on the sands of Manhattan Beach lit the embers, Charlie Saikley's recreation department classes stoked the fire, and Marine Street legends fanned the flames that hardened the cast iron competitive will of Holly McPeak. McPeak's professionalism and unyielding quest for improvement became the calling card for the greatest player of her generation.

As early as high school at Mira Costa, teammates said no one worked harder than the 5'7" McPeak. Winning national championships both there and at and UCLA, she thrived in disciplined environments. Her unmatched commitment to health and conditioning remains legendary and her efforts set the standard for future generations. She raised the bar even higher with her voracious film analysis, use of coaching and copious note taking. Self-motivated and driven, Holly's single-spaced listing of areas for improvement was mythically long. No player worked harder or prepared more steadily.

McPeak's new partners were quick to learn that if skill-based drills were not done perfectly, the duo would not move on to competitive drills. Drills to 10 were not finished until 10 perfect repetitions were completed. This attention to detail led Holly to 72 open victories with seven different partners; a remarkable five times she won the first event she entered with a new partner. McPeak was named tour MVP five times and for several years topped the all-time women's victory list until Misty May – who earned her first victory with Holly -- passed her. McPeak's grit and desire also garnered her eight defensive player of the year awards.

A veteran of the first beach volleyball Olympics in 1996, McPeak and then rookie May gathered enough points in just one season to qualify for the 2000 Olympics when other teams had two years to accumulate points. In the 2004 Olympics, Holly and then partner Elaine Youngs climbed the podium, earning a bronze medal.

An opponent once noticed after an international tournament that Holly was already packed for the morning flight and that her completed checklist for the trip rested on top of her suitcase. The first item on the checklist wasn't about her passport or packing her socks. It was, "Win Tournament." That box, of course, was checked.

written by:: Brian Meckna