By Phil Brozynski
Reaction is still coming in concerning the Illinois High School Association's decision to end its long association with Wilson and begin employing balls manufactured by Baden Sports, Inc., during its various state series, including girls and boys volleyball.
Here are some comments from a few more area volleyball coaches:
"What I like are the Molten balls for several reasons. Molten is used at the college level and in many club programs. My players choose that ball first in the cart. I always order Molten balls for practice balls. They hold up twice as long as the Wilson ball. The boys especially are tough on a volleyball because they hit the ball so hard. The Molten ball also hold its air better, maintaining consistent air pressure. The Wilsons only last about a year-and-a-half for me. I order some Wilson balls which we use for game balls, but the majority of my order is Molten. I have complained to my rep about the Wilson ball, but it did not do much good. I do not have much experience with the Baden." - Lincoln-Way Central girls coach Joann Holverson.
"We like the Baden volleyball better than the Wilson volleyball, but the one my players really like are the Molten volleyballs. The Wilsons did not keep their shape and often did not hold the air like it should, which affects the flight of the ball." - Providence boys coach Cindy Olczyk.
"Baden is great brand name for volleyball. I used it early on at Loyola University before we switched to Molten. Baden was a stronger ball than Tachikara at that time, lasted longer, and could take the wear and tear of the men at Loyola playing with the same balls as the women. I use Molten here at Latin with a spattering of Wilson. I guess I will look into Baden to see if they have any better deals than Molten. I guess I would have to say I like Molten the best, but Baden is fine." - Latin's Liz Nelson.
"It should be a more welcome ball than the Wilson I-Cor. I hope that it will last longer than the Wilsons did." - Wheaton Warrenville South boys and girls coach Bill Schreier.
"Baden is a good volleyball. The company has been around for quite some time and they make a quality product. If I am not mistaken, I believe it is the official ball of the NCAA. Other than it is no longer a local company that is the official supplier, the change should be negligible. It is a quality product." - Oak Park-River Forest boys coach Don August.
"Baden has been around for a while. I think they make a pretty good volleyball, probably better than the Wilson ball." - Immaculate Conception's Jean Field.
"I recently talked with my equipment salesman and he said they are anticipating that the required Baden volleyball is going to cost $55. The Wilson from last year is approximately $40. My past experience with Baden is that they were not very good balls. That was some years ago, and they may be better now. The Wilson ball is a great ball. We will have to see how the Baden measures up when we get one and actually use it." --
Hinsdale Central boys coach and assistant athletic director Len Serwat.
"Baden makes a quality ball and we have no qualms about the switch." - Lincoln-Way East boys coach Dawn Murphy.
"I don't have a lot of familiarity with the Baden ball. I do know that the list price of the volleyball is twice the price of the Wilson. Most of the club world uses the Molten ball, so it's another difference." - Barrington boys coach Rob Ridenour.
And finally, there was this from a coach who did not want to be named.
"It's the next step in crappy deals brokered by the IHSA without input from coaches and players."