Patti Bright

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Patti Bright, a longtime faculty member of Pepperdine University’s Physical Education Department, died Sept. 8. She was 63.

Born in Chicago, Ill. on Dec. 27, 1940, Bright was a gifted athlete who excelled in every sport, especially volleyball. Her dream of being an Olympian brought her to Southern California in 1962. It was on these beaches that Bright met her husband, Mike Bright, and made her Olympic dreams come true. She played on the United States Olympic team in Tokyo (1964) and Mexico (1968) and also participated in the Pan American Games in Brazil in 1963.

Throughout her life, Bright participated in 47 National Volleyball Championships, earning numerous All-American and MVP awards. She received the all-time Great Player Award in 1983, was inducted into the Volleyball Hall of Fame in 1996 and continued to play until illness forced her retirement in February 2004.

Bright earned her bachelor’s from USC in 1964. She then began her long teaching and coaching career that started at Los Angeles City College. In 1981, Bright led the Santa Monica High School girls volleyball team to a state championships. While at Pepperdine, she coached the women’s volleyball team to several league championships and national rankings. A number of Bright’s players went on to national, beach and Olympic success.

Bright is survived by her husband, Mike, her children, Bonnie Counts, Lari Nusinov, Jodi Saucedo, David Bright, five grandchildren; her mother, Bertha Lucas, her sister, Nancy Evans, four nephews, one niece and 10 grand-nephews and grand-nieces.

Services took place on Oct. 2 on the track at Pepperdine University. In lieu of flowers, a contribution can be made to Pepperdine University-Patti Bright Tribute, 24255 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA 90263-4454, Attn: Patti Bright Tribute/Athletics Advancement. Contact Sam Lagana with questions: 506-4454. More information can be found at http://www.pattibright.net.