Class of 2000Active: 1980 - 1997
75 Open Victories
There is too much depth to Mike Dodd's volleyball career to make it into a Hollywood movie and it has too much credibility to turn it into a 12- week television mini-series. It's more fit for a four-hour documentary. Ken Burns, are you listening?
Dodd, is truly a volleyball renaissance man. His pro victories span 16 years and there were 75 of them in all – the first coming with Tim Hovland in 1981 (Will Rogers State Beach) and the last with Mike Whitmarsh in 1997 (Dallas).
Take away Dodd's playing resume' and he still has made quite an impact on the game. He has served as a broadcaster for NBC, Fox and ESPN on various volleyball productions. He was also an AVP executive, a coach of Olympians, husband of women's beach star Patty Dodd and a father of future stars Dallas and Dominique. He is not only a CBVA Hall of Famer (2000), but was also inducted into the Volleyball Hall of Fame (2012).
Mostly, however, he has simply been "MD" - the godfather of Marine Street where he honed his game as a teen on the orange court. A natural athlete, Dodd was also a basketball star and baseball player at Mira Costa. He earned a scholarship to San Diego State and starred on the basketball team for four years before turning his focus to volleyball. Despite playing only part time for the Aztecs indoor volleyball team, Aztecs, he was good enough to earn a stint with the U.S. Men's National Volleyball Team in the early 1980s. That's where he formed his allegiance with fiery Tim Hovland, forming a contrast of personalities that performed inexplicable precision on the court.
The pull of the beach tugged hard for Hovie-Dodd during an era when the pro tour was ready for explosion. Dodd and Hovland's long-time rivalry with Sinjin Smith and Randy Stoklos helped light the fuse to that memorable combustion in the sport’s glory years. He won 53 times with Hovland by the time the partnership ran out of steam, but there was still plenty of life left in Dodd's smooth and effortless game. He hooked up with 6-7 Mike Whitmarsh for another remarkable run (16 victories) and the two former hoopsters (both were chosen in the NBA draft) captured a silver medal at the inaugural beach volleyball competition in Atlanta. They lost a tough gold-medal match to Karch Kiraly and Kent Steffes in that classic 1996 event.
Dodd won nearly $2 million in prize money during a career full of frills. After retiring he opened a restaurant in Manhattan Beach (Fonz's) to honor his late father Charlie, who was his biggest fan. He turned that into a profitable business before turning some of his attention to coaching, working with Sean Rosenthal and Jake Gibb and helping them qualify for the Olympics in Beijing in 2008.
His leadership style caught the attention of the Italian Volleyball Federation, which hired Dodd in 2010 to prepare an Italian team for the 2012 Olympics in London. Dodd's hand-picked team of Paolo Nicolai and Daniel Lupo upset defending gold-medalists Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser and emerged as one of the top five teams in the world. Dodd reunited with Rosenthal for the 2013 season, serving as the coach for Rosenthal and Dalhausser as they focus on a run for the Olympics in Brazil in 2016.
Mostly, however, Dodd will remain the soft-spoken talent who earned his AAA rating at age 16 playing with his older brother Ted. The pair won the CBVA's Hermosa AA and the floodgates for success for Mike were open. Those gates have yet to close.
Written by:: Jon Hastings