USA Volleyball team sends message to ailing former Mater Dei coach

News-DemocratAugust 20, 2013 

After the USA Volleyball national team learned former Mater Dei volleyball coach Fred Rakers had been diagnosed with cancer, it released a special thank-you video on

The squad made the video while competing at a tournament in Japan and it showed up Tuesday on YouTube.

"We just wanted to take a moment to say thank you for your support of USA Volleyball and for everything you've done over the last 45-plus years to help grow our sport....for the love of the game that you've instilled in thousands of kids just like us.

"We're in Japan right now for the finals of the World Grand Prix, but we wanted to let you know that our thoughts and prayers are in Illinois with you and your family."

After that, the entire team said "Thanks Coach Rakers!" with a big smile. Here is the link to the video:

Rakers, 68, has been diagnosed with stage four adenocarcinoma, a type of cancer that begins in the glandular cells.

The former National Coach of the Year guided Mater Dei to six Illinois state championships and more than 1,000 victories. He helped the Knights win a seventh state title as an assistant coach to his son, current head coach Chad Rakers.

Contact reporter Norm Sanders at 239-2454, or on Twitter @NormSanders

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