Ball State leads way with 5 members selected to new MIVA Hall of Fame class

Rick Niemi earned the MIVA Player of the Year in 1972 and was among the seven individuals named to MIVA Hall of Fame on Monday. Photo courtesy of Ball State

It continues to be Ball State’s year in the MIVA.

The MIVA announced on Monday its newest Hall of Fame class with five of seven individuals coming from Ball State.

These MIVA Hall of Fame selections come months after Ball State ended its 20-year conference championship drought as it won the MIVA Tournament and advanced to the NCAA Tournament semifinals.

Three Ball State players from the 1970s – Barry Long, Wes Lyon and Rick Niemi – and 1990s setter Eduardo Ferraz earned Hall of Fame honors. In addition, former Ball State athletics director Don Purvis was named to the conference Hall of Fame for his role as an administrator.

Long in 1970 helped lead Ball State to the conference championship and a berth to the inaugural NCAA Tournament. The pin-hitter as a senior hit .390 and was named the 1971 MIVA Co-Player of the Year as Ball State finished conference play undefeated and returned to the NCAA Tournament.


Lyon was a three-time First-Team All-MIVA selection and helped guide the Cardinals to three consecutive regular season championships. Lyon also had more than a .300 attack percentage in three seasons with the Cardinals and spent time playing with the U.S. Men’s National Team.

Niemi in the last of three seasons at Ball State had 831 assists and a team-high 39 aces to help the Cardinals advance to the 1972 NCAA Tournament that was played on their home court. The 1972 MIVA Player of the Year was a three-time All-MIVA selection and helped lead the Cardinals to back-to-back undefeated conference seasons.

Ferraz was a two-time MIVA Player of the Year and finished his career second in school history with 6,779 career assists. The setter also led the Cardinals to three consecutive MIVA regular season titles and NCAA Tournament appearances in 1995 and 1997.

Purvis served as the Ball State athletics director from 1984-95 and oversaw the Cardinals win seven MIVA Tournament championships. In addition, Purvis was the chair of the NCAA men’s volleyball committee and helped Ball State secure the bid to play host to the 1992 NCAA Tournament.

Along with the Ball State members, former Kellogg and Ohio State players Brian Sherman and Craig Sherman were selected to the Hall of Fame.

Brian Sherman was a three-time All-MIVA selection – earning the honor once at Kellogg in 1977 and then twice at Ohio State in 1978 and 1979. The Buckeyes in those two seasons had an undefeated season in conference play and advanced to the 1978 NCAA Tournament that was played on its home court.

Craig Sherman remains the only player to win the MIVA Player of the Year with two schools – Kellogg in 1980 and Ohio State in 1981. In addition, Craig Sherman led Kellogg to the MIVA championship in 1980 and then Ohio State to back-to-back titles in 1981 and 1982.

The seven-member class will be formally inducted into the MIVA Hall of Fame on Nov. 12 in Muncie, Indiana. The induction ceremony will take place following a preseason tournament featuring Ball State, Lindenwood, Ohio State and Purdue Fort Wayne.