Mike Dodd with Mike Whitmarsh at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta
Born and raised in Manhattan Beach, Calif., Mike Dodd was a two-sport standout at San Diego State University in the late 1970s, starring in both basketball and volleyball. Although Dodd was selected in the 10th round of the NBA draft by the San Diego Clippers in 1979, he turned to his first love, beach volleyball, where he would find his greatest success.
Dodd first played beach volleyball at the age of 10 and later played competitively with his brother, Ted, becoming the youngest player at the time to earn the “AAA” rating at age 16. Dodd partnered with Tim Hovland to win the 1981 State Beach Men’s Open. This was the first “Open” title for the team of Dodd and Hovland, a partnership that would span nearly 10 years. It was also Dodd’s first career Open win.
Dodd enjoyed an 18-year beach volleyball career that included winning the silver medal with partner Mike Whitmarsh at the inaugural Olympic Games for beach volleyball in 1996 at Atlanta. Dodd and Whitmarsh played in a total of 106 events together, winning 17 of them.
Dodd captured 75 titles during his career, including five Manhattan Beach Open titles with Hovland, and three of the 14 FIVB events in which he competed.
One of the greatest ever to play the sport, Dodd had 231 podium placements and 297 “final four” finishes. He ranks in the top 10 in beach volleyball history in tournaments played (351), event titles (75) and career earnings ($1,772,970).
Dodd was selected as the AVP Sportsman of the Year in 1994 and 1996, as well as the AVP Most Inspirational Player three years in a row from 1995 to 1997. His court defense was recognized by his earning the AVP Best Defensive Player four consecutive years from 1994 to 1997.
The 1997 season marked the end of Dodd’s competitive career, although he still remained very much involved on the beach volleyball circuit as a broadcaster, analyst, coach and even commissioner of the AVP. In 2000, Dodd was inducted into the California Beach Volleyball Association Hall of Fame. After his retirement, Dodd and his wife Patty started the very popular steak and seafood establishment Fonz’s in Manhattan Beach, Calif.
In 2009 Dodd became the first person to coach the men’s and women’s champions of the same Manhattan Beach Open (Sean Gibb and Jake Rosenthal and Nicole Branagh and Elaine Youngs). He coached Gibb and Rosenthal to consecutive fifth-place finishes at both the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and the 2012 London Olympic Games, which culminated this year with mentoring the pair to become 2012 FIVB Beach Volleyball Tour Champions.
Although Dodd is being inducted as a player for his contributions on the playing court, his other contributions in the world of volleyball are also recognized as outstanding. And so, we welcome Mike Dodd as a 2012 Inductee to the Volleyball Hall of Fame.