Class of 2014Active: 1992 - 2009
55 Open Victories
These days beach volleyball is a truly international game. But up until the early 1990s it was a very different story. The sport, particularly the men's game, was dominated by Americans, almost all from Californian. The dominant tour in the world, the AVP tour, had not a single foreign-born player.
So when a young Jose Loiola from the small Brazilian town of Vitoria and his partner Eduardo "Anjinho" Bacil started entering AVP events in 1993 they were a real curiosity. And even though the Brazilians were accomplished in their home country - Jose was a junior national champion in Brazil and had competed in FIVB events - there was much skepticism on the AVP tour about their prospects.
That skepticism was snuffed out pretty quickly as Jose and Anjinho had a tremendous rookie season finishing in the top 5 in 11 events, including four second place finishes.
And it was impossible to be skeptical once you saw Jose hit a volleyball. There have been many leapers in the history of professional beach volleyball, but perhaps no one has soared out the sand higher and with more grace than Jose Loiola. With his whip of an arm, he could hit high and hard over the biggest of blocks. Jaded tour vets would crowd around his court those first years just to ogle at his hitting.
After his successful partnership with Anjinho, Jose took his game to another level on the AVP tour, first with partner Adam Johnson and then with Kent Steffes. Jose won 11 tournaments with Johnson and 17 with Steffes, including 13 victories in 1997, one of the best seasons in history. Jose was voted the best Offensive Player in the AVP four times and was named the tour MVP in '97.
Jose backed up his athleticism with quintessential Brazilian enthusiasm and fire. As Jose grew more comfortable on the AVP tour, he let his dynamic personality shine, exhorting the crowd to cheer him on after a good play. He quickly became a fan favorite.
In the late 1990s, Jose started focusing more on the growing international circuit. He won 20 times on the FIVB tour, primarily with Emanuel Rego, winning the FIVB tour championship in 1999 and representing Brazil in the Sydney Olympics. He and Rego were named by the FIVB as one of the two best volleyball teams of the 90s.
While Jose will always be a proud Brazilian, he has truly found a home in the beach cities of California. He married a Manhattan Beach native and settled down here, raising four kids. He passes on his love of volleyball through his club volleyball program and coaching with U.S. Volleyball. He is as passionate about beach volleyball as a coach as he was a player.
While Jose's roots are in Brazil, he has found a rightful home here in the California Beach Volleyball Hall of Fame.
by Chris Warshaw