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Ogonna Nneka Nnamani (born July 29, 1983) is a retired Nigerian-American indoor volleyball player and former member of the United States National and Olympic team. She was awarded the Honda-Broderick Cup in 2004 as the nation's top female athlete across all NCAA sports and is regarded as one of the best players in Stanford University's history with a career record of 2,450 kills, for which she entered the Stanford Hall of Fame in 2015.[1]

Ogonna Nnamani
Ogonna Nnamani.jpg
Personal information
Full nameOgonna Nneka Nnamani
Born (1983-07-29) July 29, 1983 (age 36)
Bloomington, Illinois, U.S.
Height6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Volleyball information
PositionOutside hitter
Current clubVK Prostějov
Puerto Rico Pinkin de Corozal
Italy River Volley
National team
2002–2010United States United States

Nnamani has played at two Olympic games, in 2004 and 2008. In 2004, she became the second woman in history to make the U.S. national team for an Olympic Games while still in college, and as part of the second U.S. team in history to reach the Olympic finals, earned the 2008 Olympic silver medal for indoor volleyball. She led Stanford University to three NCAA championship matches, winning the national title in 2001 and 2004. Nnamani has led her professional teams to national league titles in 2007 (Swiss Volleyball League) and 2010 (Czech Extraliga), and a runner-up finish in 2006 (Puerto Rico LVSF).


High school and personal lifeEdit

Nnamani was born in Bloomington, Illinois, and attended University High School in Normal, Illinois, where she also played basketball. During her time at University High School she won back to back state championships in 1999 and 2000. She has a younger sister, Nji, who played volleyball alongside her at Stanford University and married professional track athlete Russell Wolf Brown.[2] Nnamani also has two younger brothers, Nnaemeka and Ikechi Nnamani|Ikechi. Nnaemeka ran track and field at Illinois State University, competing in the long and triple jump.[3] Ikechi was the 2009 Illinois High School Association champion in the high jump and former state record holder. He competed at Rice University and the University of Pennsylvania. Her parents speak the Igbo language.[4]

Nnamani was considered the top high school recruit for her class, as she was recruited by major universities in 49 of the 50 U.S. States[5] and won the Gatorade National Player of the Year award as a senior in high school.[6]

She is closely related to senate president Ken Nnamani of Nigeria. Her father, Chika Nnamani, is former Assistant Vice President and Director of Housing at Illinois State University.[7]

Nnamani's family is originally from Nigeria, and moved to America before she was born, in pursuit of better educational opportunities.[8] Her last name translates to one who knows the land in the Igbo language.[9]

In 2009 Nnamani signed a contract to play with VK Prostějov for her 2010 professional season. In the same year, she signed a contract extension with Nike.[10]

On August 25, 2012 she married former Stanford football player, Mike Silva.[11] Silva graduated from Stanford University with a degree in Economics. Silva also completed a master's degree in Engineering at Stanford and a master's in business administration from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He is currently a venture capitalist.

Stanford UniversityEdit

2001 (freshman)Edit

As a freshman at Stanford, she won a NCAA Women's Volleyball Championship, and for her efforts was named on the NCAA Final Four all-tournament team as she had 19 kills against previously undefeated Long Beach State in the NCAA championship match.[12] She was named the Pac-10, Volleyball Magazine, and AVCA Pacific Region Freshman of the Year.[13]

2002 (sophomore)Edit

As a sophomore, she was named an AVCA second team all-American en route to helping Stanford to a NCAA runner-up finish, losing to Pac-10 rival USC in the final. She averaged 4.10 kills, 1.14 digs, 0.67 blocks and 4.59 points per game.[14]

2003 (junior)Edit

Nnamani was named a First Team All-American as well as a Honda Sports Award nominee for volleyball. She set a Stanford single-season kills record with 627.[15] She had 27 kills while hitting .415 in NCAA Second Round win over Pacific She was named the tournament MVP at University Park Holiday Inn Classic.[16]

2004 (senior)Edit

As a senior, Nnamani won an NCAA championship, was named the AVCA National co-Player of the Year,[17] the Honda-Broderick Cup winner,[18] and a NCAA Top Eight Award as part of the Class of 2005.[19] Nnamani led Stanford to an unexpected NCAA championship as Stanford was not favored to win as the NCAA tournament's overall 11th seed,[20] but Nnamani set a NCAA tournament record for kills en route to a win over number 4 seed Minnesota in the final at Long Beach Arena in Long Beach, California.

She graduated from Stanford with a degree in human biology.[21]

International and Olympic careerEdit

Nnamani is a 6' 1" (186 cm) outside hitter. She joined the U.S. national team in 2002 and went to the 2004 and the 2008 Olympics.[22]

In 2005, Nnamani garnered media attention for an interview with USA Today where she remarked, "I know you can run a 100-yard dash by yourself or throw a really good pitch on your own. But in volleyball you rely on your team for every skill you perform."[23] The quote was widely reproduced in newspapers when she was in contention for the Honda-Broderick Cup and later in September 2006 when the Italian media reported that she was being sought after by the A-1 teams.[citation needed]

Nnamani made her international professional debut under the Puerto Rican LVSF league for the Pinkin club of Corozal.[24] Under Nnamani's leadership, the Pinkin team reached the finals of the national league for the first time since 1996, finishing second to the Carolina Gigantes.[25]

After an abbreviated season in the Italian A-1 League, Nnamani signed on to Voléro Zürich of Switzerland for 2007. She joined fellow USA Olympian Robyn Ah Mow-Santos on the team. She helped Voléro Zürich team win the Swiss Cup Final, the Championship League and placed fourth in the Indesit European Championship.[26]

After contesting the World Cup in Japan, where the United States took a bronze medal and qualified for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Nnamani returned to Italy and joined fellow USA Olympian Lindsey Berg at Asystel Novara.[27] Novara finished with the bronze medal in the Indesit European Championship; highlights for Nnamani included hitting at a .710 percentage on 21 swings against her former team, Volero Zurich, in the playoffs.[28] In January 2008, she was selected by popular vote to join the "All-Star" team for an exhibition game against the Italian National Team in Turin.[29]

At the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China, Nnamani played in both outside positions (outside hitter and opposite). Her play included a 17-point performance in a win that eliminated Poland on August 17, 2008.[30] The United States finished with a silver medal after losing to World No. 1 Brazil, the first time it had made the gold medal match since 1984.

For the 2008–09 professional season, Nnamani played with Galatasaray, a Turkish volleyball club known for its FC (football club) that has been successful in the UEFA tournaments. Nnamani, the top scorer of her team, led Galatasaray to one of the biggest upsets in league history when the eighth-seeded Galatasaray upset first seed VakıfBank Güneş Sigorta Istanbul in the quarterfinals.[31] The 322 points she scored during the regular season placed her fourth among all players in the Turkish Professional League.[32]

Collegiate awardsEdit


  1. ^ "STANFORD Magazine: July/August 2008 > Features > Stanford Olympians > Ogonna Nnamani". Stanford Alumni Magazine. 2008-08-16. Archived from the original on 2012-05-10. Retrieved 2012-06-05.
  2. ^ "Player Bio: Nji Nnamani – Stanford University's Official Athletic Site". Stanford University Athletics. 2010-08-07. Archived from the original on 2012-09-28. Retrieved 2012-06-05.
  3. ^ "Player Bio: Nnaemeka Nnamani – Illinois State University Official Athletic Site". Illinois State University Athletics. 2005-09-19. Archived from the original on 2011-08-03. Retrieved 2012-06-05.
  4. ^ "Chat Wrap: Ogonna Nnamani". Stanford University Women's Volleyball. Dec 5, 2001. Archived from the original on 2007-03-24. Retrieved 2009-01-25.
  5. ^ "Ogonna chooses Stanford". The Pantagraph. 2000-10-25. Retrieved 2008-07-28.
  6. ^ "Past volleyball national winners". Gatorade. Retrieved 2008-07-28.[dead link]
  7. ^ "Chika Nnamani". Illinois State University. Archived from the original on 2008-10-07. Retrieved 2008-08-18.
  8. ^ Muniz, Jeff (2008-08-27). "Silver medalist comes home". Week News 25. Archived from the original on 2008-08-31. Retrieved 2008-08-30.
  9. ^ Kaufman, Laura (2008-07-06). "Ogonna Nnamani". Stanford Magazine. Archived from the original on 2008-09-16. Retrieved 2008-07-28.
  10. ^ Searcey, Rod (2009-10-06). "Ogonna Nnamani posílí prostějovské volejbalistky". IHSA. Retrieved 2009-09-21.
  11. ^ Roethel, Kathryn (2012-09-10). "Stanford athletes marry after 7 years". Retrieved 2012-09-10.
  12. ^ AP (December 15, 2001). "Stanford knocks off undefeated Long Beach State" ESPN. Retrieved on July 22, 2008.
  13. ^ "2001 AVCA Division I All-Region Teams". American Volleyball Coaches Association. 2001-12-04. Archived from the original on May 16, 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-28.
  14. ^ 2002 Stanford cumulative season statistics Stanford Athletic Department
  15. ^ Nnamani named Honda Award nominee Archived December 4, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ Fourth ranked Stanford hosts Stanford invitational Archived May 11, 2006, at the Wayback Machine Stanford Athletic Department.
  17. ^ Gordon and Nnamani co-National Players of the Year Archived May 12, 2008, at the Wayback Machine American Volleyball Coaches Association
  18. ^ Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year Archived July 12, 2011, at the Wayback Machine Honda Award
  19. ^ NCAA Top Eight for the Class of 2005 recipients Archived June 11, 2011, at the Wayback Machine NCAA.
  20. ^ 2004 NCAA Tournament Bracket[permanent dead link]
  21. ^ Shen, John (2005-07-07). "Stanford wins Director's Cup". The Stanford Daily. Archived from the original on October 24, 2006. Retrieved 2008-07-28.
  22. ^ 2008 Olympic National Team Roster USA Volleyball.
  23. ^ Kushlis, Jennifer (2005-06-10). "Stanford's Nnamani has plenty of drive for spikes". USA Today. Retrieved 2008-08-18.[dead link]
  24. ^ "In Corozal: Ogonna Nnamani". Pinkin Club. 2005-11-20. Archived from the original on 2006-02-21. Retrieved 2008-08-18. (Spanish)
  25. ^ Athletes: Ogonna Nnamani Archived June 20, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  26. ^ Sharer, Randy (2007-08-23). "Stanford's Nnamani earns sponsorship". The Pantagraph. Archived from the original on 2012-09-07. Retrieved 2008-08-18.
  27. ^ Sharer, Randy (2008-06-18). "U-High grad eyes second Olympic berth". The Pantagraph. Archived from the original on 2009-01-05. Retrieved 2008-08-18.
  28. ^ Indesit European Championships Statistics 2006–2007[permanent dead link]
  29. ^ All-Star game members[permanent dead link]
  30. ^ "Nnamani powers out 17 points for USA". The Pantagraph. 2008-08-17. Archived from the original on 2009-01-05. Retrieved 2008-08-24.
  31. ^ "USA National Team member Nnamani is in Istanbul". Galatasaray. 2008-10-16. Retrieved 2008-10-17.
  32. ^ "Women's Volleyball First League The Statistics Of The Turkish Teams And The Player İnformations". Archived from the original on 2012-02-24.

External linksEdit