Saturday, July 21, 2018

Yekaterinburg's Howling Bear shaped modern volleyball

Nikolay Karpol, nicknamed the Howling Bear and considered one of the most experienced international volleyball coaches in the history of the modern game, was born Brzeżnica, Poland, in 1938, but calls Yekaterinburg home.

The now-retired Karpol served as the head coach of the Soviet Union women's volleyball team from 1979 through 1982 and again in 1988, taking the team to previously unheard of levels of success over the course of two decades.

Karpol is notable for his in-game attitude, which gained him fame for his constant yelling during matches. Karpol, however, says that he does not insult the players and only gives technical advice.

Under Karpol's tutelage, the Soviet Union and Russia won gold medals at the 1980 and 1998 Summer Olympics and gold at the 1990 World Championship. The team also won the silver medal in the 1992, 2000 and 2004 Summer Games. In addition, the team took World Grand Prix titles in 1997, 1999 and 2002, the World Grand Champion Cup in 1997 and 1999, and European Championship titles in 1979, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1997, 1999 and 2001.

Karpol's astonishing run of success was recognized by the Federation Internationale de Volleyball on many occasions, which named him FIVB Coach of the Year in 1989 and 1991. He was also named the best coach at the 1990 Volleyball World Championships.

He was inducted into the Volleyball Hall of Fame in 2009, the same year he was named the head coach of the national team of Belarus.

Karpol also founded a volleyball center in the Ural Mountains and has advised clubs in Croatia, Spain and Japan.