Jan. 16, 2014
Stone receives recognition for building Tulsa’s youth volleyball programs
Gary Stone is a tough coach. For more than 10 years, the Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences maintenance technician has been instilling the values of teamwork, patience, practice and determination in area youth as a volleyball coach for the City of Tulsa’s Park and Recreation Department.
“I enjoy working with children and teaching them how to play volleyball,” said Stone. “I push my players to do their best, on the court and off the court. They’re learning valuable lessons as they try new things and compete as a team.”
The Park and Recreation Department recently honored Stone with an award of appreciation for his many years of volunteer coaching.
“The award was presented to show Gary that we appreciate him going above and beyond for our youth,” said Kathy Thompson, Lacy Park Manager. “It’s because of his work that Tulsa’s youth can play organized volleyball.”
When Stone first began volunteering with the Tulsa Park and Recreation Department, volleyball wasn’t an option. He worked with Thompson and other volunteers to establish volleyball leagues for Tulsa youth.
“It took several years to get enough interest in volleyball to be able to set a schedule with matches between teams,” said Thompson. “But the number of kids who participated never bothered Gary. He was happy to be teaching these kids a new, fun sport.”
Over the years, Stone has led numerous clinics to teach kids the basic fundamentals of volleyball and help develop their skills on the court. Often, he plays the role of instructor, coordinator, coach and even referee.
“Gary will bend over backward to do anything that’s needed for our youth programs,” said Thompson. “We wouldn’t be successful without volunteers like him, who work tirelessly for our young people.”
As an example to the kids he coaches, Stone does his best on and off the court, too. For more than 23 years, he has worked the late-night shift at OSU-CHS, ensuring the campus is clean and ready for the daily return of students, faculty and staff.