Class of 2023Active: 1997 - 2012
18 Open Victories
Stein Metzger's deep connection to volleyball began early and molded him for a journey that has no end in sight.
A throwback to an era when volleyball was a big part of the daily routine that included surfing and paddling on the island of Oahu, Stein's rise to the Hall of Fame may have started on the “baby court” at the iconic Outrigger Canoe Club, but he was always destined to end up on the sport's biggest stage.
His early training in Hawaii helped land him a scholarship to UCLA, where the transition from baby court to baby blue was virtually seamless. He was a setter on three national championship teams and chosen an All-American twice.
The national team beckoned, but Stein's calling was always going to result in a return to the sand. The independence the beach afforded proved to be too tempting to pass up for a prodigal free spirit who grew on an island less than 30 miles long.
At 6-3, Stein was an early hybrid player when he competed in his first AVP event with fellow Bruin Mike Diehl in 1996 -- the same year beach volleyball made its debut as an Olympic sport in Atlanta.
When Stein first turned pro the game was still played on the traditional larger court, where ball control was at a premium. That reflected in the diversity of his various partners from defenders like Eduardo Bacil, Carlos Loss, Wayne Seligson and Todd Rogers to blockers like Sean Scott, Mike Lambert, Kevin Wong and 2023 HOF inductee Jake Gibb.
Ironically, it was fellow sideout hybrid Dax Holdren who he paired with to qualify and play in the 2004 Olympics in Athens. The pair had a career-best silver medal finish at the 2003 World Championships in Brazil. Their old-school sideout game earned them a solid fifth in Greece, but the duo parted ways after the 2004 season. Both players understood that two 6-3 players could no longer compete in a sport where “small ” blockers were now 6-7.
Stein opened the 2005 AVP season with Gibb, where they began with a tournament win in Ft. Lauderdale defeating Holdren and his new partner 6-8 Jeff Nygaard in the finals. Stein and Jake finished the 2005 season as the AVP's top team with three more victories including the prestigious Manhattan Open.
Despite that partnership's success, Stein answered the call and agreed to play with fellow islander and prep teammate Mike Lambert, a dynamic blocker and bomber who had earned acclaim playing professionally indoors.
The move proved incredibly successful for two years with the Hawaiian pair claiming nine AVP wins in 14 months. Injuries to Lambo cut short what could have been an Olympic run in 2008. Stein carved out his final win of his career with Mark Williams in Boulder in 2008 – his 18th in a glorious run during his playing prime.
It did not take long after his playing days were over Stein became the first beach volleyball coach at UCLA in 2013, where he guided the Bruins to an overall record of 266-61 in 11 seasons. The Bruins made 10 trips to the national championship tournament including back-to-back NCAA titles in 2018 and 2019. The Bruins lost to USC in the 2023 title match.
Stein's success did not go unnoticed. When the University of Texas decided to launch a beach volleyball program for the 2024 season they put their sights on Stein and like most Texans they hit their target. Stein signed a contract with UT and moved his family (wife Emily, daughter Quinn and son Otto) to Austin to begin a new chapter for the Metzger family.
Stein immediately assembled a coaching staff that includes former AVP star Angie Akers. Stein is arguably expected to have Texas in the national championship conversation almost immediately.
His status as a Hall of Fame player is not open for debate. Please welcome Stein Metzger to his other new home -- the Beach Volleyball Hall of Fame.