Dodd got started with beach volleyball at the tender age of 10, and by the time he was 16 he had earned a “AAA” rating for his skills. After high school he attended UC San Diego where he was a starter on both the men’s basketball (1975-79) and volleyball (1978-80) teams. That alone impresses me because I know how much time and dedication it takes to excel in just one sport at that level, let alone two! His achievements were recognized in 2007 when Dodd was inducted into the UCSD hall of fame.
With two sports at his command Dodd chose the more lucrative path and was drafted to the San Diego Clippers in 1979. But like his future partner Mike Whitmarsh, Dodd’s basketball career was short lived and he turned back to his first love, beach volleyball.
He paired up with Tim Hovland early in his career and snagged his first victory in 1981. The two would become regulars on the podium over the coming decade, and they reunited for a few tournaments in 1991 and 1992 and for the final time in 1993 when they managed to win in Phoenix.
Over the course of his beach career Dodd racked up an impressive 72 domestic titles, had 231 podium placements and 297 “final four” finishes. He won four world beach volleyball championships, one U.S. title and ranks in the top five in beach volleyball history in tournaments played (351), event titles (75) and career earnings ($1,772,970).
Dodd also continued to play indoor volleyball, competing on the U.S. men’s national squad in 1981, 1982 and 1985 and playing professionally in Italy (1982-1984, 1986).
But the highlight of his career (at least as a player) may be the silver medal win with Mike Whitmarsh in Atlanta in 1996. That was the inaugural Olympics for beach volleyball, and with Karch Kiraly and Kent Steffes taking the gold, Americans dominated the podium.
Now retired, Dodd keeps himself involved in the sport that he loves by coaching Jake Gibb and Sean Rosenthal (though this relationship may end now that he’s the AVP commissioner) as well as training with some of the top women’s teams. He coached Nicole Branagh and Elaine Youngs during the 2009 season, but that pair has since split up. Dodd also provided beach volleyball commentary during the 2000 and 2004 Olympics.
He was named AVP commissioner early this year, and now takes the welfare of the sport and its players as his personal responsibility. I don’t think beach volleyball could be in any better hands.