SEMPER FI HANDBALL TOURNAMENT HISTORY
Handball was one of the sports within
the All Marine Sports Program at least as far back as the 1950s through the mid-60s. Attempts to
include handball, again, as an All Marine Sport were made in the early 1970s with
the playing of an All Marine West Coast Handball Tournament in 1971 and again
in 1972 at MCRD, San Diego and a similar All
Marine East Coast Handball Tournament in 1975 at Quantico.
Based on the success of these three tournaments, handball was reinstated
as an All Marine sport in 1976 and remained there through 1989.
In 1990, due to fiscal constraints, handball was again
dropped from the All Marine Sports Program.
In the "never say die" attitude commonly shared by all
handball players and Marines, the First Annual Semper Fi Handball Tournament
was launched in 1990 to continue one of our traditions. Players eligible to
participate are active duty, reserve, retired, and former Marines plus Navy
personnel in those same categories who served at least one tour with the Marine
Corps. Our purpose was, and is, to get
together, renew acquaintances, play some ball, and have some fun. MCRD, San
Diego has graciously allowed us to use their excellent
facilities each Memorial Day weekend. The 2010 Semper Fi Tournament marked the
twentieth anniversary of this event.
It is especially heartwarming to see
former Marines return to the Depot (many for the first time since Boot Camp),
attend Morning Colors, the Band Concert, visit the museum, and observe the
Recruit Graduation Parade. We have been
blessed with two Iwo Jima veterans as
tournament participants. They have been
deeply moved by the return to their roots.
MCRD, San Diego has been extremely supportive of
the Tournament by making their courts available to us and providing some other
much needed assistance. We have tried to
keep the entry fees low ($60.00 for 2010 - FREE for active duty enlisted). Entry fees cover the cost of souvenir shirts,
balls, trophies, food, beverages, and the Saturday evening Banquet.
We can count among our participants
former and current World and National handball champions, members of the
National Handball Hall of Fame, United States Handball Association (USHA) Board
members (including the USHA President), State Chairmen, and Regional
We have seven perpetual trophies that
honor Marine handball players who have made a significant contribution to our
a brief rundown on each of the seven perpetual trophies we have for the Semper
Fi Handball Tournament:
Open/Masters Singles Champion and Open/Masters Doubles Champions
BACKGROUND: John Krueger won both the All Marine Open
Singles & Open Doubles Championships several times during the period 1976 -
1981. In September 1981, just after
finishing the Physical Readiness Test, while serving as a Supply Officer to the
1st Marine Brigade in Hawaii,
he suffered a blockage in the blood flow to his heart and died. He left his wife, Patti, and a young son,
Bret, behind. John was one of those few
individuals that pass through our lives that everyone liked and respected. He was taken from us at a much-too-early age.
Golden Masters Singles Champion and Golden Masters Doubles Champions
BACKGROUND: Ray Leidich was one of the individuals
responsible for getting handball established as an All Marine sport. He retired from active duty in 1989 as a
Colonel with 7 All Marine Singles championships and 7 All Marine Doubles
championships. He & Frank Riney
began the Semper Fi Handball Tournament in 1990 when, for fiscal reasons,
handball was dropped from the All Marine sports program.
Super Masters Singles Champion and Super Masters Doubles Champions
BACKGROUND: Wes Edwards was one of the individuals
responsible for getting handball established as an All Marine sport. During his active duty years he won several
All Marine Masters Singles & Masters Doubles Championships. He retired in 1984 as a Brigadier General.
Veteran Super Masters Singles Champion and Veteran Super Masters Doubles
BACKGROUND: During his
active duty years Frank Riney won several All Marine Open & Masters Doubles
Championships. He & Ray Leidich began the Semper Fi Handball Tournament in
1990 when, for fiscal reasons, handball was dropped from the All Marine sports
program. He retired in 1984 as a Colonel.
Diamond Masters Singles Champion and Diamond Masters Doubles Champions
BACKGROUND: During his
active duty years Don Brodie won several All Marine Masters Doubles
Championships. He was one of the individuals responsible for getting handball
established as an All Marine sport. He
retired in 1982 as a Major.
Veteran Diamond Masters Singles Champion and Veteran Diamond Masters Doubles
BACKGROUND: Frank Riojas has been a consistent supporter of handball in the
Marine Corps, both during his years on active duty and subsequent to his
retirement. He works very hard behind
the scene to make sure all the small, yet significant details of a tournament
are taken care of. He is one of those
rare Marines that served as the Sergeant Major of a Marine Division, a Marine
Aircraft Wing, and a Marine Expeditionary Force.
Platinum Masters Singles Champion
BACKGROUND: Clarence (Mac) McCallson
was an avid handball player. As an
enlisted Marine he made the landing on Iwo Jima
in February 1945. He passed away in
Each of these trophies is inscribed with the names of the
previous champions in its respective category.
Participation, by year, since inception
of the Semper Fi Tournament, has been as follows: 1990 18; 1991 30; 1992
33; 1993 37; 1994 37; 1995 39; 1996 54; 1997 48; 1998 54; 1999 84;
2000 79; 2001 103; 2002 87; 2003 98; 2004 119; 2005 121; 2006
114; 2007 137; 2008 132; 2009 135; 2010 133; 2011 129.
On a one-time basis, we initiated some
special awards/souvenirs to commemorate our tenth anniversary. We had five players who have participated in
the previous nine tournaments. They
received an appropriate award to show our appreciation for their support. One of our Iwo Jima
veterans is also an artist. His painting of the Mount Suribachi flag raising, as well as numerous other paintings, is hanging in
a prominent place in the Recruit
Depot Museum. An autographed 8 x 10 photograph of that
painting was one of the tournament souvenirs for the tenth anniversary
tournament. That rendition was also the
emblem on that years tournament shirt.
The points of contact are as follows:
Frank Riney, Tournament Co-Director,
Encinitas, CA 92024
Ray Leidich, Tournament Co-Director
10 Stefaniga Farms Drive
Stafford, VA 22556
Monty Nereim, Tournament
La Jolla, CA 92037