John Lamson Kessel ’74 is the recipient of the Louis T. Benezet Award. He has been coaching volleyball at the collegiate level or above since 1971. As a player, he participated in 16 U.S. Open championships and played professionally overseas. He is director of sport development at USA Volleyball, the national governing body of the sport. He also is director of development and board member for World ParaVolley, secretary of the North, Central American and Caribbean Volleyball Confederation development commission, and a level IV course instructor for the International Volleyball Federation. He serves on the board of Starlings Volleyball, USA, an organization devoted to positively impacting at-risk girls through the sport of volleyball.
In 2017, he and his wife Lily Fernandez founded a nonprofit retreat for veterans and first responders’ families called Bison Peak Lodge on 40 acres in the Tarryalls. He has done multiple clinics in all 50 U.S. states and over 60 nations worldwide, has authored numerous books and articles, and is a well-sought speaker on topics related to 20 different Olympic sports.
He recently garnered the Frier Award, the highest award for a lifetime of service, from USA Volleyball. In 2013, he was inducted into the American Volleyball Coaches Association Hall of Fame. In the sport’s centennial in 1995, Volleyball magazine named Kessel as one of the 50 most important people in the sport in the past 100 years.
He earned a bachelor of arts degree from CC in 1974.