If Karolyn Kirby were remembered for just one thing, it would be the fact that she was the most dominant beach volleyball player on the pro circuit. Her list of accomplishments goes on for what seems like an eternity and her presence on the beach court evokes nothing but awe inspired looks.
Born in 1961 in Brookline, Massachusetts, Kirby started playing volleyball at a young age and by the time she was a freshman in high school she was already playing at the varsity level. She was captain for two years and in 1979 led her team to a state championship title as well as being named high school player of the year. She attended Utah State for three years and then the University of Kentucky for her last year of school. She was named an All-American three out of her four years at school.
However, Kirby later found her true success on the beach. In her years on the pro circuit she has 67 wins in both domestic and international tournaments, more than any other woman on the circuit. In 1993 she teamed up with Liz Masakayan and they became the most dominant team the pro circuit had ever seen amassing a team record of 29 wins together. Kirby also won a gold medal on the beach in the 1992 Olympics.
Along the path of her career, Kirby has also won many prestigious awards; she was dubbed the “Best Player in the World” by the FIVB for three straight years (1992-1994), WPVA Best Hitter, WPVA Best Offensive Player, WPVA Best Setter 6 times, and WPVA MVP 4 times.
Kirby also served as the Assistant Coach for the University of New Hampshire women’s volleyball team. She may not have the physical power she once had, however she has learned to become crafty and with the use of her finesse shots is still able to control a game. She has a wealth of knowledge to pass onto a new generation of volleyball players.