Michael Purgason loved volleyball with fervor. Nothing brought him greater joy than competing for The University of Texas at Austin Men’s Volleyball Club team; well, perhaps long and enthusiastic discussions about volleyball or his teammates, but that’s all. He joined the team in Fall 2009 and played for Coach Elbert Ortiz, whose friendship was dear to Michael and always will be to his family.
Michael greatly contributed to the functioning of the club from the day he joined, and served as President of the men's volleyball program from Fall 2010 through Spring 2012. He worked diligently to fund raise, organize, and spread the news about the team and their successes. His teammates would tell you that passion is the only word to describe his love for the team and their sport. Michael loved to break down every play and game in detail, reliving all the moments over and over and bragging on the group.
Purgy as he is still called today, began his fascination with volleyball when he attended Mansfield Summit High School, and he immediately joined the men’s club team at UT when he arrived on campus as a freshman in 2009. He made the A-team as a sophomore, contributing on the court as a middle-blocker, and providing an unmatched desire to win and devotion to playing for his team throughout the season. In his junior year, a versatile skill set allowed Purgy to compete as an outside hitter for the team, playing a large role on the court and earning the team a successful winning record. During Purgy’s tenure, the team accomplished a SIVA conference title and two runner-up finishes, and played in the NCVF national championship tournament, finishing strong among the nation’s most elite teams.
Michael was to graduate from UT in the spring of 2013. He wanted to be a physician and a volleyball coach, and had applied to medical school. In the winter of 2013, the Michael Purgason Invitational was held in Austin on the Forty Acres. Michael’s family said it was one of their proudest moments and that they were so grateful for the selflessness of Michael’s teammates in honoring him in such a fitting manner. Since that time, other tournaments have been, and will continue to be held in his memory, and a philanthropic foundation named for Michael has been created as well. His jersey number, 9, has been retired from the UT men’s volleyball team. The team, program, alumni and coaches will always fondly remember the times spent with Michael, his complete dedication to the sport and his teammates, and the love he shared with all who crossed his path. Volley On, Purg!