Class of 2016Active: 1979 - 1993
53 Open Victories
Tim Hovland and Mike Dodd were both inducted to the Beach Volleyball Hall of Fame in 2000. We're honoring them, not as individual players, but for their outstanding partnership.
While Beach volleyball is a team sport, it is the smallest of teams. Only two players, each entirely dependent on the other for success. It’s a cliché to say that a beach volleyball partnership is like a marriage, but it’s a cliché that stands up. And the ugly truth is most beach marriages end in early divorce. The history of beach volleyball is littered with partnerships that looked great on paper, but fell apart when put to the test.
Hovland and Dodd always passed the test.
That Hovland and Dodd had the athletic ability to be a great team was never in doubt. Hovland was a three-sport start in high school, and an All-American at USC. Dodd played both volleyball and basketball at San Diego State and was drafted by the San Diego Clippers.
They got to know each other when training for the U.S. indoor team in San Diego and played their first tournament together in 1979. They solidified the partnership a few years later, when they put aside their indoor careers and turned to the beach full-time. Over the next decade-and-a-half they would play in over 180 tournaments, reaching the top of the podium an incredible 53 times.
It is popular to point out their different personalities. M.D.’s even keeled demeanor contrasted with Hov’s fiery outbursts, ripping off his shirt in the middle of a match, and mixing it up with fans, opponents and officials. But these outside appearances mask what the two had in common. Dodd, despite a calm exterior, was, just like the Hov, intensely and ruthlessly competitive. And Hov, while loud, boisterous, and sometimes controversial, was, just like Dodd, universally liked by his fellow competitors.
And their playing styles fit together perfectly. Hovland patrolled the net with a quickness and athleticism unique in the game, while Dodd roamed the back court, relying on his length and uncanny anticipation to track down balls all over the court. Both were lethal attackers – Hov with a lighting quick arm swing and M.D. with the ability to attack sets from virtually any location.
Of course, all great teams need a rival. And in Sinjin Smith and Randy Stoklos, they found the perfect one. It is impossible to understate what this rivalry meant to our sport. Just as the Bird-Magic rivalry is credited with creating the modern NBA, it was Hovland-Dodd and Smith-Stoklos battling in the late 1980 and early 1990s that created the foundation for professional volleyball. Most Americans got their first taste of beach volleyball when their many epic battles were televised into their living rooms.
And while Smith and Stoklos certainly won their share, there is one beach where Hovland and Dodd always seemed to get the upper hand: Manhattan. Beginning in 1982. M.D. and Hov won the Manhattan Open five times in a row, the first four of those coming at the expense of Smith and Stoklos in the finals. Whether it was the home crowd or the familiar sand, Hovland and Dodd always bought their best to the sport’s biggest arena.
Throughout their partnership, and after they split as all partnerships eventually do, and after the end of their careers, Mike and Tim were always more than merely partners on the court. They were, and are, great friends. It is not doubt that this friendship off the court helped them be great on the court.
Mike Dodd and Tim Hovland, as individual players, were true hall of famers. As a team, they were true legends.