The global volleyball community mourns the loss of an influential figure, Vyacheslav Zaytsev, who passed away on June 12, aged 71, following a long illness. The announcement was made by his son, Ivan Zaytsev.
Born in Leningrad (Saint Petersburg) on November 12, 1952, Vyacheslav was a prodigious setter for the dominant USSR team of the ’70s and ’80s, later transitioning into coaching. Beyond being a beloved father to Ivan, he was a significant contributor to the sport of volleyball and considered one of the best players of the 20th century.
Throughout his illustrious career, Vyacheslav Zaytsev accumulated a rich trove of accolades. These include an Olympic Gold in Moscow 1980, silver medals in Montreal 1976 and Seoul 1988, and two World Championships. He also held an impressive record of seven victories at the European Championships. Remarkably, as part of the Soviet Union national team, Zaytsev maintained an unbeaten streak in official tournaments that lasted eight years.
Zaytsev’s professional career extended beyond his home country as he became the first Soviet player to play professionally abroad. He donned the jerseys of Automobilist Leningrad, Spoleto, Agrigento, and Città di Castello, and later transitioned into coaching in Lugano, Switzerland.
Following a stint in Switzerland, he returned to Russia as a coach and assistant coach in various settings. His significant contributions to volleyball were acknowledged in 2013 when he was inducted into the Volleyball Hall of Fame.
At this sorrowful time, WorldofVolley extends heartfelt condolences to Ivan Zaytsev and the family.