Each Month, Presidio Sports recognizes a local sports figure for their extraordinary contribution to the Santa Barbara athletic community.
It is our way to recognize those who are making a lasting impact in the sports community, whether it is an outstanding athletic performance, a lifetime achievement award, or perhaps a philanthropic athletic booster.
Todd Rogers has spoiled us in Santa Barbara.
Those who have followed his beach volleyball career are accustomed to seeing him and partner Phil Dalhausser standing on the top of the podium or holding a big check at the end of a tournament. So, when the duo bow out of the London Olympics without a medal, it was an unfamiliar sight.
If there was any consolation to the Round of 16 loss, it came against an up-and-coming Italian team called the “young Todd and Phil.”
“I guess they ‘Phil and Todded’ us to death,” quipped Rogers at a post-match press conference in London.
That comparison shows the respect the beach volleyball world has for Rogers and Dalhausser.
As well as it should.
They have won 64 titles together and more than $2 million in prize money. They also have an Olympics gold medal stashed away, winning the beach volleyball tournament at the 2008 Games in Beijing, China.
For all he’s accomplished in his sport, and the attention he’s brought to Santa Barbara, Presidio Sports is honoring Rogers as the Sports Figure of the Month.
Rogers, 38, has always been known as a cerebral player, hence the nickname, “The Professor.” He torments opponents with an assortment of shots and his defense. Combined with Dalhausser’s dominating net play, big jump serve and sweet setting hands, the East Beach-based team is considered one of the best of all time.
Along with their Olympic gold medal, their international milestones include the FIVB World Championship in 2007 and a FIVB World Tour record of nine tournament titles during the 2010 season.
London marked the end of Rogers’ Olympics career, and he’s not sure about playing any more on the FIVB World Tour.
“My plan has been to play in a handful of my favorite tourneys, but we shall see,” he said in an email to Presidio Sports following his last Olympics match. “It depends on family, sponsors and partner.”
Marked on his calendar are two events being staged by the new AVP next month — Sept. 1-3 in Cincinnati and Sept. 7-9 in Santa Barbara.
“We have been leaning towards playing in the two AVP events for money purposes, and it would be nice play to play in the home town after years of not playing in front of the home-town fans,” the San Marcos High and UCSB alum said.
Will Rogers stay involved in the game once he’s done playing?
“Not sure,” he said. “It depends on what presents itself.”
Rogers was an assistant coach for the UCSB men’s volleyball team from 2000-2005 before devoting full time to playing pro beach volleyball.
It proved to be a great career move.
Asked what advice he would give any young volleyball player who wants to play in the Olympics someday, Rogers replied: “Pursue your dreams as everyone should, but be honest with yourself in how realistic that goal is and never sacrifice the things you hold dear.”