Home / Coaching / Yasutaka Matsudaira Passes Away – A Sad Day for Volleyball

Yasutaka Matsudaira Passes Away – A Sad Day for Volleyball

The volleyball world lost a great coach and leader, Yasutaka Matsudaira.  Mr. Matsudaira, Men’s Head Coach of Japan’s  1972 Olympic Gold Medal winning team, was a master strategist and pioneer of the fast style (Asian-style) offense prevalent in the game today.  His offense proved that ball control and a fast offense can dominate over power and height.  Mr. Matsudaira went on to be the President of Japan Volleyball Association, the first Vice President of the FIVB was the first international coach inducted into the Volleyball Hall of Fame. Yasutaka Matsudaira put Japan on the map in the volleyball world.

USA Volleyball CEO, Doug Beal on Mr. Matsudaira:

This is a very sad piece of news for the world of volleyball.  Perhaps no one had a greater degree of influence than Mr. Matsudaira on how we play the game as well as the commercialization of the sport (which has historically been led by Japan TV and Japan FIVB events).  He was a particular friend of USAV and regularly went out of his way to assist our development during a period when we very much needed that assistance (the 1970s and early 80s).  He was the first international inductee into the VB Hall of Fame and remained a strong advocate of that institution going forward.  He has suffered from poor health for some time, but this truly marks the end of an era in our sport throughout the world.

Ironically, post World War II, the United States had great influence on the political development of Japan.  At that time, Japan was deciding on democratic or communistic rule.  During this same period of time, the Japanese volleyball played with 9 players on the court.  In the mid-1950’s, the Japanese adopted the 6 player international style.  In the 1960s and 1970s, products coming out of Japan were not looked on favorably by the world, of which American influence helped to steer the Japanese business into worldwide leaders.  During this same period in the world of volleyball, it was the Japanese that led the way and influenced the game of volleyball, much attributed to Yasutaka Matsudaira and Hirofumi Daimatsu.

Following is the  JVA-Press-Release-Mr-Yasutaka-Matsudaira

 January 5th, 2012


Dear FIVB President Mr. Jizhong WEI,

Dear Volleyball friends all over the world,

It is our great regret to inform you that Mr. YASUTAKA MATSUDAIRA (aged 81) passed away on December 31st, 2011 at 12:21 p.m. because of emphysema.

Date of Birth:
January 22nd, 1930



FIVB Honorary Vice-President
AVC Life Honorary President
Japanese Olympic Committee Honorary Member
Japan Volleyball Association Honorary Adviser

Major career

Career in sports associations:

(FIVB) October 1982 – FIVB Executive Vice-President
September 1994 – FIVB 1st Executive Vice-President
October 1998 – FIVB Honorary Vice-President
(AVC) November 1985 – AVC President
June 1996 – AVC Life Honorary President
(JOC) August 1989 – Japanese Olympic Committee Executive Board Member
April 1995 – Japanese Olympic Committee Vice-President
(JVA) April 1979 – Japan Volleyball Association Managing Director
April 1987 – Japan Volleyball Association Vice-President and Managing Director
April 1989 – Japan Volleyball Association President

Career as a leader:

October 1964 – 18th Olympic Games in Tokyo / 3rd place (Coach)
October 1968 – 19th Olympic Games in Mexico / 2nd place (Head Coach)
September 1972 – 20th Olympic Games in Munich / 1st place (Head Coach)

Career as a player:

April 1954 ~ October 1960 – played in Senior Men’s National team
1958 – 3rd Asian Games / 1st place

Major awards:

Spring 1988 – the Medal with Blue Ribbon
Spring 2006 – the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon
July 1982 – FIVB Distinguished Service Award
June 1996 – IOC Olympic Order (Silver Medal)
October 1998 – inducted into the Hall of Fame
October 1998 – FIVB Special Distinguished Service Award
December 2000 – FIVB 20th Century Men’s Best Coach Award

[Message from the late Mr. Matsudaira]

“I did everything that I wanted to do in my life, and I have no regrets in my life.”

[Message from JVA President Mr. Nakano]

“For many years, he contributed greatly to the development of volleyball not only in Japan but also in the world. He received respect from around the world as a wonderful leader. We are now filled with deep sorrow to lose one and only person like him. He was a treasure in the volleyball world. We pray sincerely for the repose of his soul.”

*For your information, we are planning to hold a home-going service in the beginning of March in Tokyo. We will inform you again of the details, so we would like to have your kind participation.


  1. You are so right about Matsudaira, Chuck! – yet I don’t think most american volleyball players or younger coaches really know how much he impacted our game. I was a big fan – in fact, his influence is what drew me into volleyball. I watched a short documentary on his training regiment when I was 10 years old and the Alan Greenspan series ‘The Olympiad’ aired prior to the ’76 Olympics. I was awed at what I saw, and was intrigued by the sport. It was my introduction to the sport, and I am glad I was exposed indirectly to his influence!

  2. Thanks Leo! Unfortunately are many American players and coaches not familiar with international greats, but greats in our own backyard!

  3. Diane F. Taniguchi, aka Coach 'T'

    It saddened me to hear of Matsudaira-san’s passing. I remember his name from the 1960’s when I first got involved in vb after seeing the Tokyo Olympics. He was truly, Mr. Volleyball, and will be greatly missed. *** I am so glad that he was one of the first – if not the very first- internatonal vb player/coach to be included in the Volleyball Hall of Fame. Being a Japanese-American I was exceptionally proud that he represented the Japanese people and the style of play they used and one that has been copied around the world. *** My sincere condolences to the Japanese Volleyball community which so graciously hosted me during my tour of the Lion’s Cup Tournament in 1999…and sincere condolences to the Matsudaira kazoku. Kanashii koto de gozaimasu.
    Sincerely, Taniguchi, Diane Fumie (Seattle, WA, USA)

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