Charlie Saikley, 69; Headed Beach Volleyball Tourney

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Charlie Saikley, 69, a volleyball guru who ran the Manhattan Beach Open for decades, died June 17 of cancer at his Manhattan Beach home.

Known as the “Godfather of Beach Volleyball,” Saikley had run the Manhattan Open since 1965, turning the annual two-man tournament into a well-regarded contest. He also was tournament director for the city’s annual six-man volleyball tournament, which is part of the International Surf Festival.

Assn. of Volleyball Professionals Commissioner Leonard Armato said Saikley was known worldwide for organizing beach volleyball tournaments.

“He liked to build consensus and enjoyed the essence of what beach volleyball is about -- world-class athleticism coupled with the beach lifestyle,” Armato said.


A native of Terre Haute, Ind., Saikley moved to Manhattan Beach in 1960. While teaching special education and math at El Segundo High School, he worked in the Manhattan Beach Parks and Recreation Department during his off-hours and summers.

Through the department, Saikley launched a tennis program as the city’s first tennis instructor and started softball, basketball and soccer teams. In 1964, he started what is believed to be the first city-organized volleyball instruction program in Southern California.