Pepperdine Honored with U.S. Olympic Achievement Award
March 24, 2011
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Over the years, Pepperdine has produced a number of student-athletes who have achieved success on the world’s grandest stage: the Olympics. Since 1956, more than 40 members of the university community have gone on to participate in the Games as either a player or a coach. For their contributions, Pepperdine University, as well as men’s volleyball coach Marv Dunphy, are being honored with the U.S. Olympic Achievement Award.
The U.S. Olympic Committee has combined with leaders of Olympic sports and college athletic directors to create an award that will recognize the universities that produce medal winners.
The new U.S. Olympic Achievement Award will be presented every two years following the Olympic Games, in an effort to emphasize the importance of American schools in the country's Olympic pipeline. Two versions of the award will be given: an actual medal that will be presented to each institution’s athletics director, and a presentation piece that may be showcased in the athletics department.
Dunphy, now in his 28th year at the helm of the storied Pepperdine men’s volleyball program, was one of five NCAA volleyball coaches to be individually recognized. He has had a long, successful coaching tenure with the U.S. National Team. The American squad maintained a No. 1 world ranking and compiled an impressive overall record of 197-31 (.864) during his time as coach. Additionally, the team won every major international tournament, including a gold medal at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea.
Since then, he has been an assistant coach at the 2000 Olympics and a consultant coach at the 1996, 2004 and 2008 Olympics.
Nineteen of his Pepperdine volleyball players have represented the U.S. National Team, with 10 taking part in the Olympics. Most recently, Sean Rooney (2002-05) took home the gold for the U.S. at the 2008 Games in Beijing. During the 2004 cycle in Athens, outside hitter Kevin Barnett (1996-97) was a member of the U.S. National Team that placed fourth.
In addition to Rooney’s gold medal in men’s volleyball, three other Pepperdine alums took home hardware in 2008. Water polo’s Merrill Moses (1995-98) and Jesse Smith (2001-05) captured the silver medal in men’s water polo (under head coach and Pepperdine all-time great Terry Schroeder), while Simon Aspelin (1994-97) won the silver medal in doubles tennis for his home country of Sweden.
Others involved in the last two summer Olympic games as an athlete or a coach include Dain Blanton (1991-94, men’s volleyball), Brian Goorjian (1974-76, men’s basketball), Ryan Radmanovich (1993, baseball), Nicole Sanderson (1994-97, women’s volleyball) and Troy Tanner (1983-87, men’s volleyball).
There were 43 schools that produced medal-winning coaches or athletes in the past Olympic cycle. Other schools in the region that share this honor with Pepperdine include California, UC Irvine, San Diego State, Saint Mary’s College, Stanford, UCLA and USC. In addition, 38 coaches and 32 student-athletes nation-wide were recognized individually.
Colleges and universities were recognized based on two criteria: having a current student-athlete who was part of a medal-winning performance or a coach who was a credentialed member of the U.S. Olympic Team delegation and his/her athlete or team won a medal.