Class of 2016Active: 1994 - 2008
11 Open Victories
Raised on the mean streets of Laguna Beach, Dain Blanton seemed destined for greatness at an early age. A two-sport star at Laguna Beach High school, he was both all-CIF player in volleyball and all-State in basketball. Deciding to focus solely on volleyball, he continued to shine at Pepperdine University, where he was an all-American, leading the Waves to the National Championship in 1982.
When he turned his attention to the sand, Dain had an immediate impact on the AVP tour. He brought a unique combination of skills to the beach game, both explosive on offense, but with an array of shots and exceptional defensive instincts. Dain was one of those rare players, equally comfortable in either the blocking or defensive role.
Dain got his first win with Canyon Ceman in 1997 right here in Hermosa Beach, becoming the first African-American man to win an AVP event. He then formed a legendary partnership with Eric Fonoimoana, with whom he would win multiple AVP and FIVB events including a second Hermosa Open victory in 2000.
But it was another tournament in 2000 that cemented Dain’s legacy. On the beaches of Bondi, Dain and Fonoimoana overcame impossible odds to beat the heavily favored Brazilians and win the gold medal at the Sydney Olympics. It stands as one of the greatest beach volleyball Olympic performances of all-time.
Dain would go on to form an outstanding partnership with Jeff Nygaard, winning events on both the AVP and FIVB tours and being named the 2003 AVP team-of-the-year. Dain would also be named the offensive-player-of-the year in 2003. In 2004 at Athens, Dain achieved another milestone when became a two-time Olympian with Nygaard.
For all his accomplishments and Olympic glory, Dain was, and remains, one of the nicest and most accessible players in the sport. After retiring from the sand, he has enjoyed a successful career as a television broadcaster, covering the NBA, Major League Baseball, college sports, as well, of course, as beach volleyball. Dain also has given back, through motivational speaking, mentoring students, and through his “Dain’s Day the Beach” which provides urban youth with the opportunity to participate in beach volleyball. He also finds time to serve as a volunteer coach for the USC beach program.
Dain Blanton, from Bondi to the broadcast booth, a true hall-of-fame career.