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“The Professor” Returns to College; Todd Rogers to coach Cal Poly Beach Volleyball Team

Olympic champion Todd Rogers will be coaching beach volleyball at Cal Poly this spring.
Olympic champion Todd Rogers will be coaching beach volleyball at Cal Poly this spring.

He’s an Olympic champion, world champion, multi-time national champion and now a beach volleyball coach.

Todd Rogers just added a new item to his already impressive resumé. He was hired this week as the head coach of the Cal Poly women’s beach volleyball team.

"The Cal Poly beach volleyball program is bringing on board one of the most recognized names in the history of beach volleyball," Athletic Director Don Oberhelman said in a statement. "It's our intention to be one of the premier beach programs in the nation and Todd will help us achieve this goal."

He’s achieved greatness as a player, winning the Gold Medal in beach volleyball with partner Phil Dalhausser at the 2008 Olympic Games in China and the FIVB World Championship in 2007 in Gstaad, Switzerland. He and Dalhausser dominated the world tour in 2010, winning nine titles in their 12 international outings and setting the mark for the most team wins in FIVB single season history. He's also one of the all-time greats on the domestic AVP Tour with 54 titles in his career.

The Cal Poly job isn’t Rogers’ first experience in college coaching. He assisted Ken Preston with the UCSB men’s indoor volleyball team from 2000-2005 before putting all his energy into his pro beach volleyball career.

"I think the coaching of the two-women game is right up his alley," Preston said. "He is also a very good recruiter.  Who wouldn’t want to go to Cal Poly and play for a gold medalist?  I would expect Cal Poly to be immediately competitive in this exploding sport."

Rogers, an alum of San Marcos High and UCSB, and a resident of Solvang with his wife Melissa and children Hannah and Nate, said he and Cal Poly women’s volleyball indoor coach Sam Crosson had conversations about him coaching the beach team.

“Sam has been talking to me about it for 8 months or so now,” Rogers told Noozhawk. “Certainly, it’s not the money,” he joked.  “(The job) allows me to stay in the valley and keep the kids (daughter Hannah and son Nate) where they are. You know I coached at UCSB with KP (Kenny Preston) and frankly I really enjoy coaching and teaching.”

And breaking down the game to its finest points.  His nickname in pro beach volleyball is “The Professor.”

Rogers said Cal Poly has three sand courts on campus, and there’s several courts at nearby Pismo Beach.

“The school is behind it. Sam is behind it. Plus, they have some boosters, namely Jon Hastings and friends, who are behind it too,” he said.

Hastings, a Cal Poly alum and San Luis Obispo resident, co-founded Volleyball Monthly magazine back in the early 1980s and later became Volleyball Magazine. More recently, he helped start another volleyball publication, Dig Magazine.

Rogers, 42, said the coaching job isn’t going interfere with him playing another season on the domestic AVP Tour. He’s been on the tour fulltime since 1997.

“I’m playing AVP this year and any events in North America. Hopefully, my last year playing unless someone pays me a lot of money to keep playing,” he cracked.

The Cal Poly beach volleyball program is in its third year of existence. It joins Cal State Northridge, Hawai'i, Long Beach State, Sacramento State and CSU Bakersfield as part of the six-team Big West Conference.

UC Santa Barbara does not yet field a team.

"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."

"We're extremely excited about the hiring of Todd Rogers as a coach for our beach program,” 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."

Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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