Santa Ynez, California, United States, September 30, 2020 - It has been over 50 months since Todd Rogers played in a competitive beach volleyball match, but the Olympic and world champion is still active in the sport as he turns 47 on Wednesday.
"I am at home today with my wife (Melissa), son (Nate), daughter (Hannah), dogs (Gage and Lucy), cat (June), horses (Melvin and Shiloh), mule (Sophie) and a gaggle of chickens," said Rogers, who is the women's college beach volleyball coach at nearby San Luis Obispo and a founding director of Beach Nation.
Prior to finishing his career on the sand in 2016, Rogers was named in February to head the California Polytechnic San Luis Obispo collegiate programme where he has compiled an 82-56 record, including a 59-21 record since 2018 featuring a conference championship and collegiate post-season berth.
Todd Rogers coaching at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
Two of Rogers’ Cal Poly players captured an FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour event together in July 2018 in Croatia when Emily Sonny and Torrey Van Winden defeated the Makhno twins (Inna and Iryna) of the Ukraine in the Porec finale. A week later, Sonny and Van Winden captured the bronze medal at the World University Games in Munich, Germany.
Nicknamed "The Professor" by pro beach announcer Chris "Geeter" McGee, Rogers also helped build Cal Poly's state-of-the-art Beach Volleyball Complex that features five courts, seating for up to 250 spectators and an LED video scoreboard.
Todd Rogers' beach volleyball complex at Cal Poly SLO
Rogers founded the Beach Nation project with Patty Dodd, Bob Bertucci and Mark Fishman to create and maximize educational opportunities for beach volleyball coaches and players of all ages and abilities. Beach Nation is also associated with the Junior Volleyball Association, the American Volleyball Coaches Association and the Beach Volleyball Clubs of America.
With his last competitive match at a domestic event in mid-July 2016 at the iconic Manhattan Beach Open where he and Stafford Slick placed seventh, Rogers' final FIVB event was two months earlier at a United States World Tour event in Cincinnati where he and Robbie Page placed 25th.
“Everyone wants to be a professional athlete and I got my opportunity on the beach," said Rogers, who played 22 seasons on domestic and international tours with 349 events played highlighted by 80 overall titles, 149 top three finishes and more than $2-million in earnings.
Rogers competed in 124 World tour events with 24 gold medals, 42 podium placements, 51 final four finishes and 60 quarterfinal appearances. Rogers, the FIVB’s top defender (2006-2008), best setter (2005) and most inspirational player (2008), won 459 of 663 (69.2%) FIVB matches.
Three-time FIVB World Tour top defender Todd Rogers dives for the ball at the 2008 Moscow Grand Slam
Rogers and Phil Dalhausser, who rank second all-time among World Tour men’s teams in gold medals (23), medals (40) and final fours (44) to the legendary Brazilian pair of Emanuel Rego and Ricardo Santos (33, 58, 66), are the only American men’s team to win both Olympic (Beijing 2008) and world (Gstaad 2007) titles. The pair posted a 310-70 (81.6%) World tour match mark together.
In all the years of competition, Rogers played only one match on his birthday in 2007 when he and Dalhausser dropped a gold medal match to Emanuel and Ricardo in Fortaleza, Brazil. Overall, the two teams met 11 times with Emanuel and Ricardo winning seven times.
2007 Fortaleza Open podium placers (left to right) were Phil Dalhausser, Todd Rogers, Emanuel Rego, Ricardo Santos, Fabio Luiz Magalhaes and Marcio Araujo
Although Rogers said he “honestly doesn’t remember that match,” he said that he and Ricardo “would beat Emanuel and Phil if we ever met in an exhibition match. I always feel that I can win a match.”
As for playing with other international players, Rogers cited Germany’s Jonas Reckermann and Brazilian Rogerio 'Para' Ferreira “along with those young blockers from Germany (Julius Thole), Norway (Anders Mol) and Russia (Oleg Stoyanovskiy).
Todd Rogers (right) hitting against Germany's Jonas Reckermann at the Moscow 2010 Grand Slam as American partner Phil Dalhausser follows the action.
Rogers, who also lists domestic titles in Manhattan Beach (2006-2008) and Santa Barbara (2006, 2008 and 2010) as memorable moments along with the Olympic and World Championship gold medals, would like to see an international version of events like the collegiate women’s format in the United States.
“It would really be a lot of fun,” said Rogers. “You could represent not only countries but cities and allow for true leagues like in volleyball, football, basketball, etc. Someone is going to try it sooner than later in my opinion.”
As for the deciding match in a best of five format featuring two men’s and two women’s teams, Rogers says the deciding contest “could have a team of a woman and man vs. another team of a woman and man. I'm sure there have been attempts at it in Europe and I know I played in some stuff versus Brasil with a 4 vs 4 format as the deciding fifth game. Like I said, I think it will be done at some point in time and promoters will play with the format.”