Zenon Noni Balo (Builder, inducted in 2000)

Induction into the Newfoundland and Labrador Volleyball Hall of Fame is the highest honour Volleyball can bestow on an individual in this province. Noni Balo is honoured by his peers for his contribution to Volleyball as a builder.

Noni Balo was born in the Philippine’s and now living in Chilliwack, British Columbia, Zenon Noni Balo travelled to Newfoundland in 1969 and quickly made a positive impact on the youth of this province and on the sport of Volleyball. After introducing the sport in the high schools of Bay de Verde and Placentia, Noni moved to the west coast of the province and introduced the sport to Stephenville Crossing, Bay St. George and Pasadena.  Finally settling into Corner Brook, Noni started to build the sport based on his Asian volleyball background, strong basic skills.  Once in Corner Brook, his boys Junior High teams, dominated local city leagues, enjoying success first at G.A. Mercer Junior High, secondly at Curling Junior High and G.C. Rowe Junior High.  In 13 years of coaching junior high teams, he won all city championships.  His greatest success came at G.C. Rowe Junior High when he formed a club team outside of school called the Aztecs Volleyball Club.

The Club was formed in 1979, and over the years Six Aztec teams were formed.  Noni’s club teams have won 3 provincial midget championships, 3 provincial juvenile championships and numerous invitational tournaments across the Island.

At the national level Noni has coached at 4 Canadian National Volleyball Championships.  In 1981 his Aztecs 2 Juvenile team competed at the National Juvenile Championship in St. John’s, NF. In 1982 the Aztecs 3 competed at the Midget East Championships in Truro, Nova Scotia; In 1983 the Aztecs 3 competed ate the Midget East Championships in Levis, Quebec, and 1984 the Aztecs 4 competed ate the Midget East in Scarborough, Ontario.

As you can see his basic skills coaching set a standard in Newfoundland at the Minor level in the early 1980’s.

In 1986 Noni transferred to Herdman Collegiate and quickly became involved at the high school level. His teams attended 4 A championship in 5 years.

While at Herdman Collegiate, Noni was awarded the 3m Recognition Award by the NLVA during the 1989-90 season.   During the 90-91 season, he was awarded the Western Region Recognition Award by the NLHAF and also was a finalist for the NLHAF’S coach of the year the same year.

Noni’s volleyball players have spent countless hours in the gym practicing and just as many hours sitting on the floor and listening to his motivation sermons which usually started off with the most annoying head –sharking hiss, followed by “ Frankly boys, I’m tired”. Though it all, Noni taught his athletes good sportsmanship, commitment, self-discipline, and determination besides sound fundamentals.

Noni’s former athletes have made an impact of their own playing for Memorial University, Provincial teams, and also coaching provincial teams.  Other athletes have excelled in other sports surely taking with them some sound mental training learned from Noni.

The Aztecs 3 favorite stories include cross – country skiing to practice at 7:00am even on days school was closed, and walking to Noni’s house on Willow Avenue to shovel out his car so he would get to practice.  With full support of his always-cheerful wife, Fe Noni also had a very active life outside of Volleyball.  He organized Corner Brook’s first Science Fair, was an Allied Youth Advisor for 5 years, was Science Club Advisor for 15 years, exchange groups for students, and was also a social counselor.

He helped organize the Neighborhood Watch Program in Corner Brook, and was a volunteer at the Western Memorial Regional Hospital, Interfaith Home, and Xavier House.

He founded the “Little Helpers Foundation”, whose beneficiaries include transplant recipients, leukemia patients, and socially and emotionally abused individuals.

Most recently Noni has formed a non-profit business named “Yours and Our Agency”, the principal sponsor of the Little helpers foundation, and is involved in Rotary international.

Now residing in Chilliwack, Noni is courageously battling chronic lymphocytic leukemia but even with this illness, he is still involved in encouraging and training young athletes to be coaches and better players by emphasizing the same qualities he taught to the volleyball players of Newfoundland for years.