Who was Matt Hartner?
Who was Matt Hartner and Why are Hundreds of Teams Traveling to Eugene, Oregon This Weekend for His Memorial Tournament?
Gresham High School, Mt. Hood Community College and the University of Oregon were all influenced by Matt Hartner the volleyball coach. Now an entire Pacific Northwest is being inspired and motivated by his memory. Matt Hartner made the transition from volleyball coach to volleyball legacy on August 13, 2014 when he passed away in his sleep at age 30.
Matt Hartner was instrumental in the creation of the MLK Invitational tournament that now bares his name. He was an active part of Adidas NW Juniors Volleyball Club and served the volleyball community in a wide array of duties ranging from facility management, to tournament direction and of course coaching. His loss was a dark day for volleyball in the Pacific Northwest, but his inspiration and legacy have become a bright spot in the early season schedule of thousands of volleyball athletes and coaches every year.
The event has all the look and feel of the National Qualifier. Athletes fill the Moshofsky center on the University or Oregon campus and some have the opportunity to play on center court at Matt Knight Arena. College coaches from all over the West coast scour through the event catching up with players that they have been recruiting and searching for the next generation of athletes at their school. Club coaches from all over the Northwest get to expose their teams to a big early season stage while catching up with friends from clubs in other areas.
Matt Hartner was irreplaceable within the volleyball community and so is the event that now bears his name. A fitting legacy for a coach taken from us too soon and a reminder for the rest of us that tomorrow is not a sure thing and that we need to make the difference that we want to make in our World today. Thanks Matt.
January 12, 2017