Sound Off: A friend of mine insists that volleyball is an American game, but I know it to be a French sport whose inventor’s last name was Mintonette and whose first name escapes me. Can anybody confirm this for me?
Actually, volleyball is an American game. Its inventor, William Morgan, called the game “mintonette” when he introduced it in 1895. Morgan was the physical education director at the YMCA in Holyoke, Mass. Dr. James Naismith had invented the game of basketball four years earlier in nearby Springfield.
We consulted George Mulry, executive director of the Volleyball Hall of Fame, to clarify the original naming of the sport: “There is much speculation surrounding why William Morgan named his new sport mintonette. Some believe Morgan’s use of the word ‘minton’ in the naming of his new game was from his own adaptations of badminton, while others say it is a derivative of a game called “minton” that came from India around the same time as volleyball was invented.
There is more information on the topic in Joel Dearing’s book ‘The Untold Story of William G. Morgan.’”
In any event, the name of the sport quickly was changed to volley ball, and in 1952 the name was made one word, volleyball. In 1985, Morgan became the first inductee of the Volleyball Hall of Fame in Holyoke, located nine miles from the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield.