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2012 USA Volleyball George J. Fisher Leader in Volleyball: Donna Wigton

By USA Volleyball, 08/12/12, 6:00PM MDT


Donna Wigton has held volleyball leadership roles for over four decades under four last names.

After a high school physical education class that taught ‘power’ volleyball, Donna Friesen went on to play four years at UNC Greensboro and would later be inducted into its Athletic Hall of Fame.

During her playing career, Donna earned her state DGWS rating in 1972 and has refereed college every fall since. She became head volleyball coach at UNC Charlotte in 1976, then left a great job to get married. Donna Lindsey later got involved with the Southern Region, becoming a regional referee and scorer, playing indoors and triples outdoors, teaching and coaching high school girls, and even a junior boys’ team with students at her school.

Donna became a National Scorer in 1983, missed the 1984 Nationals going through a divorce, but has worked every Nationals since 1985. She would move to Colorado, where she became active in the Rocky Mountain Region officiating and served on the board. With the help of two mentors, Donna founded Volley Novelties in 1988, selling gifts and trinkets at several AVCA and P.E. conventions.

Donna Wilson also volunteered many times – like calling lines at the 1986 Olympic Festival and a NORCECA tournament, and scoring several scrimmages. She became qualified on the international sheet in 1986 and scored her first tour match in Colorado Springs followed by the 1987 Olympic Festival. Donna was a scorer at the 1991 International Military championships and at the 1995 World University Games.

Donna held a National PAVO rating from 1988 to 1996, working the NAIA Championships in 1991 and 1993 and the National Invitational Championships in 1995. She earned her USAV National Patch in 1990 and was awarded the Meritorious Service Award in 1996.

Single again in 1994, she worked more tournaments, like the Davis Festival. In August 1995, she earned her USA/International Scorer patch at the Centennial Cup in Atlanta then worked tour matches in Albuquerque and El Paso.

The highlight of her career came when she was invited to work the 1996 Olympic Games and made more friends, getting a handshake from Endré Holvay, then president of the FIVB Refereeing Commission. She also got a visit from Doug Wigton, whom she met that March, and who would change her life. Three years of dating and lots of volleyball matches later, she became Donna Wigton in 1999.

She kept volunteering, like at national events and the Officials Assembly meetings, and contributed to the scorer’s commission as a rater at Nationals and the 2006 certification clinic as well as scoring World League matches.

Donna became the fourth Director of International Scorers in 2008, assigning and working more International tournaments. In the last two years, she was especially inspired by the exceptional athletes at WOVD Sitting tournaments, and was challenged by the advent of the E-scoresheet.