Steve has always been a sports junkie.
In 1980 he was a member of the Wadena Minnesota State Community and Technical College State Basketball Championship team.He also played Football and Hockey.
Steve played softball on a team that was together for over 20 years. That team won many local, district, and regional awards. He retired from playing competitive softball in 2000 after playing for 25 years.
In 1981 a friend introduced Steve to wallyball.
He feels that wallyball is much more of a challenge than volleyball, and he believes that wallyball makes him a better volleyball player.
Steve was a member of the first official wallyball team, “The Bloomington Bombers,” according to the US Wallyball Association. They practiced at International Village Apartments in Bloomington, MN. During the 2020 - 2021 season, he celebrated his 40th year of playing competitive wallyball. He has probably played in and won more wallyball tournaments than anyone else in the history of the sport!
Steve now competes in volleyball and wallyball leagues weekly throughout the year. He believes in playing at the highest level possible, instead of "dropping a level". He has never had a sub on any of his wallyball teams.
He has participated in more than 300 wallyball local/state/regional/national tournaments. He has won 2 open national titles, 5 advanced national titles (2 runner-up), 3 times national runner up in Open co-rec doubles, 2 intermediate national titles, 40+ state/regional titles (20+ runner-up), and has won many other awards in various tournaments throughout the USA and Canada. He has also won many volleyball awards.
He plays at the OPEN/ADVANCED level and recently is playing mixed doubles in men's triples and co-rec triples. "It's quite a rush competing against players half your age...."
Usually Steve plays either wallyball or volleyball 2 - 3 nights a week, as he has done for over 40 years.
Steve lists as some of his biggest wallyball thrills was the 2003 Wallyball National Tournament held in Minnesota. Steve and Wally Choo (Canada) won the advanced men's double national title one day and the next day they played in the open men's triples division. (They did manage to win a few games....but hey...they both were 43 at the time).
Steve and his doubles partner Lori (and wife) have won men's triples and co-ed triples tournaments as a doubles team.
Steve started running leagues in the late 1980's at a couple of fitness clubs. The entire year was geared towards one very large tournament (The State Tournament) that was held in the spring. There were hundreds of players and teams from all over the Midwest participating.
Steve keeps an aggressive schedule since wallyball tournaments are only held during the winter months in his area. He helps others or runs over 15 wallyball tournaments each year.
In 1998, Steve started the Minnesota Wallyball Association, a wallyball organization run with the help of a few people. As a result, there are thousands of players in the Midwest that regularly play in leagues and tournaments.
Over the years Steve has been asked to be a commissioner for both the AWA, WII, AUWP, and more recently, the USWA. He served over 3 years on the Board of Directors and as the National Rules Commissioner for the Association of United Wallyball Players (AUWP). Today, Steve works with all local, state, and national organizations to promote the sport.
Steve re-wrote, expanded and presented the AUWP (US Wallyball) with a new and more detailed rulebook(Phase one). He also has written guidelines on how to teach wallyball, how to certify referees, and how to become a better wallyball player. He recently completed and presented the WIN! rules committee with the completed edition of the wallyball rulebook (Phase two).
On a more personal note, Steve has introduced wallyball to thousands of new players. Wallyball as been in his family for many years.. He has 2 brothers that are national champions in the sport. His daughters, Brianna and Jamie also became national champions in 2003 at the Intermediate level. (They were 13 and 15 at the time). Steve married Lori Ellsworth (his doubles team partner for the past 23 years). WOW! 6 national champions in one family!! Could this be the FIRST FAMILY of Wallyball??!!??
Steve is a certified wallyball instructor. He offers free classes at local clubs, community centers and colleges throughout the midwest. He teaches adults as well as kids of all ages. He also trains referees and tournament directors for the sport of Wallyball.
Steve served on the Minnesota Racquetball Board of Directors (2003-2007). He has helped develop and expand a Grassroots Program at the national level to fill existing racquetball and wallyball courts.
You now know that he is addicted to the game of wallyball and hopes to play another 10 years.
(article date 2020)
Founder - Minnesota Wallyball
Executive Director - Wallyball Information Network
League and Tournament Chair - Wallyball Information Network
National Rules Commissioner - Wallyball Information Network
Certified WIN! Wallyball Instructor
Certified WIN! League Director
Certified WIN! Tournament Director (200+ Tournaments)
Certified WIN! Referee
Grassroots Coordinator and Board of Directors - Wallyball Information Network
2004 - 2007 Grassroots Coordinator and Board of Directors - Minnesota Racquetball
1999 - 2002 AUWP (US Wallyball) National Rules Director
1999 - 2002 AUWP (US Wallyball) Board of Directors
1998 - Current - Minnesota Wallyball Board of Directors