International Volleyball Association (1976-1977)
Folded: Postseason 1977
Arena: Brophy Gym (3,500)
The Phoenix Heat were a short-lived entry in the co-ed International Volleyball Association (1975-1980), active during the summers of 1976 and 1977. Heat home games took place in the 3,500-seat gym at Brophy College Preparatory high school.
The Heat were not an especially strong club, finishing with losing records in 1976 (14-26) and again in 1977 (15-21). The team did feature a few notable players, however:
Mary Jo Peppler was player-coach during the 1976 season. One of the best women’s players in the sport, Peppler played on the 1964 U.S. Olympic team and gained a measure of broader fame in 1975 when ABC’s women’s Superstars at the age of 30. Peppler was named the IVA’ Coach of the Year in 1976, but did not return to the league in 1977.
In fact, practically the entire Phoenix Heat roster turned over after the 1976 season. Bernie Hite was the only holdover to return for the club’s second season in the summer of 1977.
6′ 7″ Scott English was one of the new arrivals in 1977. English was a familiar name to Arizona sports fans. He was a basketball star at the University of Texas-El Paso, good enough to play in the NBA with the Phoenix Suns in 1972-73 and later with the Virginia Squires and San Diego Conquistadors of the American Basketball Association.
Polish star Stan Gosciniak was one of the top setters in the world. He joined the Heat in 1977 after two seasons with the IVA’s El Paso-Juarez franchise and his presence in the league was indicative of the IVA’s success in attracting top foreign talent from around the world.
The Heat folded after the 1977 season. The rest of the IVA followed in 1980, shutting down quietly in mid-season after the 1980 U.S. boycott of the Moscow Olympics demoralized the league’s investors, who were counting on a post-Olympic surge of interest in the sport.
- Scott English
- Stan Gosciniak
- Mary Jo Peppler