BVA Tour Names Competition Staff for BVA Pro Beach Volleyball Tour
Beach Volleyball America (BVA) Names Competition Staff for BVA Pro Beach Volleyball Tour
(from BVA Press Relations)

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (February 27, 2001) --- Beach Volleyball America (BVA), the official U.S. men's and women's national circuit as recognized by USA Volleyball, announced today the selections for its professional Competition Staff for the 2001 BVA Pro Beach Volleyball Tour.

"The BVA Tour's competition staff includes some of the most experienced, professional and successful individuals in the history of the sport," said Lori Okimura, Chief Operating Officer of the BVA Tour. "The work ethic and level of understanding of the sport that exists among this core group is outstanding and unmatched in the industry."

Leading the team of event professionals is LeValley Pattison of Manhattan Beach, Calif. who will serve as the BVA Competition Manager. Pattison has professional experience with the Women's Professional Volleyball Association (WPVA), USA Volleyball (USAV) and the Federation Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB). She was formerly the Competition Manager for the U.S. Olympic Challenge Series, leading up to the 2000 Sydney Olympics and staging events in Chicago, Ill. Huntington Beach, Calif., Deerfield Beach, Fla., Virginia Beach, Va. and San Diego, Calif. Pattison will oversee all aspects of competition to include the administration of the men's and women's Main Draw Tournaments for the BVA Tour.

Gino Ferraro of Fort Lauderdale, Florida serves as the BVA's Event Promoter for the state of Florida. Ferraro served as the Assistant Vice President of USA Volleyball's National Championships Division through 2000, and helped to coordinate the U.S.A. Junior Olympic Beach Volleyball Championships and U.S.A. Open Beach Championships, in addition to providing event support for the U.S. Olympic Challenge Series. Ferraro is the President of Pro-Motions Sports Marketing in Fort Lauderdale and operates the U.S.A. Florida Beach Volleyball Tour, a statewide grass roots tour providing an ample training ground for the developing BVA talent in the Southeast Region.

Tim Simmons from Boulder, Colo. will serve as the BVA Press Director. Simmons is highly regarded as one of the most comprehensive sources of information on the sport of beach volleyball. Simmons was formerly the Press Operations Director for USA Volleyball, the national governing body of the sport in the U.S. and successfully managed the beach volleyball publicity campaigns for the U.S. Olympic Challenge Series, 1996 Atlanta Olympics, FIVB World Tour, Goodwill Games and the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games among others. Previously, Simmons served as a publicist for the Coors Brewing Company in Golden, Colo. for 11 years. He also served as Sports Information Director at the University of Colorado, Colorado State University, the University of Southern Colorado and the Big Sky Conference. Simmons will lead the BVA's event publicity campaign in conjunction with The Robbins Group Public Relations based in Tarzana, Calif.

The position of Referee Manager will be assumed by Steve Owen of Abilene, Texas. Owen is currently the Assistant Vice President of USA Volleyball's National Beach Refereeing Committee and served as Head of Officials for the U.S. Olympic Challenge Series since 1999. Owen is one of the foremost authorities on the rules of the game and referee management in the U.S., with over 23 years of experience. He is one of a small handful of officials with International Beach Referee status from the U.S. on the FIVB World Tour. He was selected to referee the inaugural beach volleyball competition at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. He has extensive experience at the highest levels of the game, including the Goodwill Games, FIVB World Tour, Pan American Games and the Paralympic Games. Owen will oversee all aspects of the BVA's referee staff as well as the USAV ratings certification program offered at each BVA Tour event.

BVA Tour operations will be handled by Joe Romano of Event Productions, Inc. (EPI), based in Detroit, Mich. Romano, owner and President of Event Productions, Inc. based in Detroit, Mich. Has over 13 years experience in producing professionally run, turn key sporting events for major corporations and sports organizations. Romano is no stranger to beach volleyball, having produced hundreds of events for the Jose Cuervo brand, including a national grass roots tour and championships events. Romano oversees all aspects of the BVA's tour operations and operations staff, including site identification, venue construction, court construction and event management.

Sam Lagana of Pacific Palisades, Calif., joins Beach Volleyball America as "The Voice of the BVA Tour." Lagana, who is currently announcing the Los Angeles Avengers arena football home games and Southern Cal basketball, is regarded as one of the most prolific announcers in the sport of beach volleyball. He will serve as the BVA Tour's lead announcer starting with the 2001 tour season. Lagana provides commentary for a variety of sports including events for the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), Federation Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB), Davis Cup Tennis, collegiate basketball, billiards, polo as well as civic and charitable events. He has provided voice over or announcing talent for commercials and for events televised on NBC Sports, ESPN and Fox Sports and made a cameo appearance in the 1990 motion picture "Side Out" playing himself. As a professional in the industry, Lagana brings the added benefit of his business acumen to the competition staff of the BVA Tour. He currently serves as the Executive Director of the John R. Wooden Award for the Outstanding Collegiate Basketball Player of the Year and as the Director of Sports Marketing and Business Development of the historic Los Angeles Athletic Club. He is a member of the Los Angeles Sports Council and serves as a Board of Directors member for a number of civic and non-profit organizations.

Curt Creel of Orlando, Florida joins the team as the BVA Tour's Audio Director, and tour announcer alongside Lagana. He will also be involved in the BVA's on site promotions and marketing at each tour stop. Creel is an experienced audio producer and is currently producing a morning drive time radio show for one of the leading stations in the Orlando market. He comes to the BVA with extensive event experience in the areas of marketing and operations through his work with the SPEEDO/Authentic Fitness retail division on a national basis. In addition, he is a veteran of the music industry. In his spare time, Creel is also an audio producer at the prestigious TD Waterhouse Arena in Orlando, Fla., home of the NBA's Orlando Magic and IHL's Solar Bears hockey team among numerous concerts and productions. Creel is a veteran in the sporting goods industry, and brings a tremendous amount of expertise to the BVA Competition Staff.

Brad Fuss, President and Executive Producer of Brighton Entertainment, Inc. based in New York City, is the key ingredient of the BVA's extensive broadcast package. Fuss is an Emmy-award winning producer and director with many years experience in sports and music programming. Fuss is a 16-year veteran of producing and directing television shows, including educational programming, music videos, webcasts and various sports programming among others. He has directed live events for ESPN, ABC Sports and Fox Television including the highly rated Women's World Cup championship soccer coverage and the prestigious Davis Cup tennis competitions, in addition to serving as both Executive Producer and Director for the 2000 U.S. Open daily 30-minute webcast show. Fuss earned accolades for his work directing segments for the long-running ABC In Concert series and the A&E network's In Concert series. From 1992-1994, Fuss directed the live, syndicated one-hour studio based program which was the lead-in segment for the NFL's Monday Night Football. Fuss oversees the production of BVA television shows, and coordinates the organization's domestic and international broadcast syndication properties.

The BVA Tour is televised in a one-hour format on ESPN2 and Univision Sports among other national and international broadcast partners. Tour partners include General Motors, SPEEDO/Authentic Fitness Corporation, MIKASA,,,, Jamba Juice, Park & Sun Sports and Allsport Photography among other regional partners.

The BVA Tour features the top U.S. men's and women's competitors, including the 2000 Olympic Gold Medallists, Dain Blanton and Eric Fonoimoana. They are joined by 2-time Olympian and the BVA's Most Valuable Player, Holly McPeak and fellow 2000 Olympic Team members, Misty May, Jennifer Johnson Jordan, Annett Davis, Kevin Wong and Rob Heidger. Olympian and 5-time World Champion, Christopher St. John "Sinjin" Smith will compete on the BVA Tour, to be joined by fellow 1996 Olympians, Carl Henkel, Barbra Fontana and Linda Hanley among others. Also making the transition to the BVA Tour in the men's division are notable indoor volleyball Olympians, Jeff Nygaard, Dan Landry, Tom Sorensen and Chip McCaw among others.

The 2001 BVA Tour includes stop in Clearwater Beach, Florida (April 21-22), Miami Beach, Florida (May 5-6), Oceanside, California (May 26-27), the Mervyn's Beach Bash 2001 in Hermosa Beach, California (June 8-10), San Francisco, California (July 14-15), Huntington Beach, California (August 11-12) and concludes with the U.S. Open of Beach Volleyball at Manhattan Beach, California (August 17-19) and the BVA Tour Championship in Honolulu, Hawaii (September 14-16).

For more information on Beach Volleyball America, please contact Mike Kantor at [email protected] or (858) 486-8659, ext. 350. For press credentials for the BVA Tour, please contact BVA Press Director, Tim Simmons, at (303) 678-8484 or [email protected], or visit online at

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