SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – The Cal Poly Athletic Department and beach volleyball program will welcome a recognizable face prior to the start of the 2016 beach volleyball season with the announcement that Olympian and FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championship gold medalist Todd Rogers has been hired as head coach of the Mustang beach volleyball team.
The Cal Poly beach volleyball program – in only its third year of existence – has recently helped form the newest Big West Conference sport and joins CSUN, Hawai'i, Long Beach State, Sacramento State and CSU Bakersfield as part of the six-team conference.
"I'm really happy to be a part of Cal Poly Athletics and a volleyball program that's on the upswing," said Rogers. "I'm looking forward to challenging for a national title in a few years and what we're able to build from day one."
Rogers, the 1997 AVP Rookie of the Year, captured a gold medal in beach volleyball at the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics. He was named the AVP's Most Valuable Player in 2007 and Best Defensive Player for five consecutive seasons from 2004-08.
"We're extremely excited about the hiring of Todd Rogers as a coach for our beach program at Cal Poly" head coach Sam Crosson said. "He's one of the most successful players in the history of beach volleyball and his knowledge, experience and understanding will have a significant impact on our beach program."
In addition to Rogers' aforementioned accomplishments, he also earned the AVP's Most Valuable Player honor in 2006 and alongside his playing partner, Phil Dalhausser, was named the AVP Team of the Year in both 2007 and 2008.
In 2007, Rogers and Dalhausser (pictured at right) completed the AVP season with more than 800 points over the second place team, which included 10 tournament victories. During the same year, the pair won the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball World Championships in Gstaad, Switzerland, which was the first such victory in U.S. Men's Beach Volleyball history.
Rogers attended San Marcos High School from 1987-1991 and UC Santa Barbara from 1993 through 1996. As part of the Gaucho men's volleyball program, Rogers was twice named a Second Team All-American by the AVCA in 1995 and 1996.
Rogers won his first professional tournament with playing partner, Dax Holdren, in 1998 at the AVP Minneapolis Open.
On Tuesday, Cal Poly Athletic Director Don Oberhelman expressed his excitement about Rogers' recent hire and the impact it will have on the beach volleyball program.
"The Cal Poly Beach Volleyball program is bringing on board one of the most recognized names in the history of beach volleyball," Oberhelman said. "It's our intention to be one of the premier beach programs in the nation and Todd will help us achieve this goal."
During his 20-year professional beach volleyball career, Rogers has had six playing partners including Holdren (1996-2001), Sean Scott (2001-05), Dalhausser (2006-12), Ryan Doherty (2013), Theo Brunner and Stafford Slick.
Rogers' highest finish during the 2015 AVP Tour came at the Chicago Open from Aug. 28-30 while paired with Slick. The duo finished in a tie for third place with Casey Jennings and Billy Kolinske (540 points). Rogers and Slick finished the 2015 AVP Tour season with the fourth-highest team points total with 2,570.
Rogers' first and only stint in collegiate coaching was as an assistant for the UC Santa Barbara men's indoor volleyball program from 2000-05, during which time the Gauchos won over 50 matches.
"Todd's addition signifies a huge step forward with the development and future of our beach program at Cal Poly," said Crosson. "I'd like to thank Don (Oberhelman), our administration and the primary supporters of our beach program for their support and vision for what we believe will become one of the best beach programs in the country."
Cal Poly opens the 2016 season at Grand Canyon in Phoenix, Ariz. at 5 p.m. PT Thursday, March 3.
Photo credits: FIVB