Todd Rogers, shown here with his partner Phil Dalhausser at the Beijing Olympics, has been nicknamed “The Professor” due to his intellectual approach to playing beach volleyball. While it may not seem like a game played with only two people per side could be that complicated, The Professor’s record proves that it takes smarts as well as skill to be successful.
In fact he has been Dalhausser’s coach and teammate since the two paired up in 2006, and their dominance on the domestic and international scenes is a testament to Rogers’ coaching abilities as well as his volleyball skill.
Rogers grew up in California, attending San Marcos High School in Santa Barbara and then the University of California Santa Barbara. During his high school career he met fellow setter Dax Holdren; the two played on the same indoor team and would later be partners on the beach from 1996-2001.
Both on and off the beach, the list of Rogers’ accolades isn’t short:
And of course he and Dalhausser brought home the gold medal in Men’s Beach Volleyball from the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
After graduating from UC Santa Barbara Rogers returned as assistant coach from 2000-2005, but left the program to focus exclusively on his professional beach career. The move seems to have paid off, since prior to the 2006 season he had experienced only modest success with his first two partners, Dax Holdren and Sean Scott.
Since teaming up with Dalhausser, however, The Professor has been taking the competition to school. In 2007 they became the first American team to win the world championships by winning the 2007 tournament in Gstaad, Switzerland, and they advanced to the semifinals in all 16 AVP events, winning 10 of them. The 2008 season saw the team win 11 domestic tournaments; they played in seven international events and brought home medals from all of them (two bronze, one silver, and three gold). In 2009 the Rogers and Dalhausser won the season opener on the AVP tour, marking the third year in a row they had started off with a win. They ultimately placed third in the World Championships but finished their fourth straight season with the most wins of any men’s team on the AVP.
Rogers has committed to playing on the AVP through the 2010 season, but he hasn’t made any decisions for the following years, including the 2012 Olympics in London. At age 36 he’s not the oldest player on the AVP tour, but he’s not the youngest either. Regardless of what he decides, The Professor will leave behind many lessons for future generations of volleyball players.