Class of 2015
Jon Hastings, for all intents and purposes, invented media coverage of beach volleyball. While others may have written a word or two about the sport before Jon, it took his insider knowledge, impeccable journalism skills, and business savvy to bring the sport to life through the written word.
Hastings grew up around the sport. He attended Mira Costa High School where he played on the basketball team with Beach Volleyball Hall of Famers Jon Stevenson and Mike Dodd. He spent summers watching the legends of the 1970s compete at Opens up and down the South Bay coast. The sport was in his blood from his earliest days.
Writing was also in his blood. He studied journalism at Cal Poly and after graduating, honed his craft at several newspapers, including the Maui News, Nevada Appeal, Honolulu Advertiser, and San Luis Obispo Tribune. In 1982, he took notice volleyball’s increase in popularity, particularly on the beach, and with partner Dennis Steer founded Volleyball Monthly magazine. While Volleyball Monthly covered all aspects of the sport, it particularly excelled covering the professional beach game. As beach volleyball boomed in the 80s, so did Volleyball Monthly and there is little doubt that each fueled the growth of the other. In the days before the internet, Volleyball Monthly’s in-depth coverage of the tournaments, personalities, and rivalries of that era and its exceptional photography were essential to the marketing of the sport. The New York Times rightly referred to Volleyball Monthly as "the bible of volleyball."
In 1994, Volleyball Monthly merged with its main competitor Volleyball Magazine and Jon served as the editor of that publication until he helped launch DiG Magazine, dedicated solely to the beach volleyball, in 2003.
Jon and his publications bring credibility to their beach volleyball coverage, not just because he is an exceptional journalist, because also because Jon himself played and competed and understands both the sport and the nature of those who compete. Jon earned his AA rating and had a swing for his AAA in Santa Cruz but, according to his own account hit, "the dumbest high lob shot with nobody up out of bounds." He continues to compete annually at the Motherlode tournament in Aspen.
Jon also coached high school volleyball for nearly a decade, leading the San Luis Obispo High Boys' team to eight league titles in nine seasons and directing the girls' team to the CIF semifinals in his first season. His daughter Kellen and son Connor were both all-CIF setters for the Tigers. Connor later went on to play several seasons on the AVP Tour after graduating from UCLA and is now a regular contributor to DiG.
Hastings has been a strong advocate for the women's game, promoting the Women's World Championship in Pismo Beach in 1986 and 1987 that was televised by ESPN. He also worked with Karch Kiraly on his Championship Volleyball book which remains one of the best-selling volleyball publications of all time.
Jon and his wife Thalia, a solid beach player in her own right, donated a beach volleyball scholarship to Cal Poly starting in 2016 to give back to their alma mater and to the sport that has impacted their lives.
As Jon says, “It's rare when career, passion and family intersect. But when they do you have to feel pretty lucky.“