The "Toddfather” back on the FIVB Beach Volleyball scene in Puerto Vallarta
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, May 5, 2014 - Known as "Rogey", "T-Rog" and "The Professor", 40-year old Todd Rogers now can be called "The Toddfather" as one of the oldest beach volleyball players continues to add productive results to his resume at the start of his 17th season of FIVB competition with new partner Theodore Brunner.
"I am very optimistic that Theo and I can have a very good season," said "The Toddfather". "We are still gelling and Theo is a very good athlete. If my body can stay healthy and I can keep my frustration level under control, I think we are going to be a very good team."
When asked about how his physical condition, Rogers said he "feels pretty good and really has no complaints. Just gotta be smart with the body and get lots of rest, stretch out the muscles and make sure to get deep tissue massages regularly."
Rogers will be the "most celebrated" men's player at this week's FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour event in the Mexican resort of Puerto Vallarta on the Pacific Ocean where competition begins Tuesday on the Playa Camarones. The American pair opened their 2014 season two weeks ago in the Cayman Islands where Rogers and Brunner captured the season's first NORCECA circuit event by defeating compatriots William Montgomery and Stafford Slick 21-12 and 21-18 in the finals.
It was the second-straight Cayman Islands medal for Rogers as he teamed with Ryan Doherty to capture second-place in the 2013 event where the pair fell to Puerto Rico’s Roberto Rodriguez and Eric Haddock 21-16 and 21-18.
“It’s nice to be at the top of the medal podium looking down this year after coming up short the last time around,” Rogers was quoted after the Cayman final. “The credit to my partner though because he played fantastic. His blocking and serving was excellent and it made my job much easier against a good team.”
The Cayman Islands gold medal marked the 79th title in Rogers' professional beach volleyball career that started after the completion of his collegiate indoor career at the University of California in Santa Barbara. "I think this is my 19th year playing professionally," Rogers noted. "I graduated from UCSB in June of 1996 and it was my first year playing in domestic qualifiers and open events."
When asked about his "first" beach volleyball competition, Rogers said he started "playing the summer of my 14th year (1987). My first partner was Clay Holdren, cousin to my first professional partner, Dax Holdren. Technically, my first pro tourney was actually in 1993 with Dax, but I did not accept any money due to my amateur status."
The Rogers/Brunner partnership is unique as "The Toddfather" recruited his new teammate when he was an assistant men’s volleyball coach at UCSB. “For me, this is kind of coming full circle,” Rogers was quoted in a Presidio Sports article last month about teaming with a player he coached for two years at UCSB.
“Hopefully, Theo will absorb some of my experience and wisdom, “said Rogers, who won the 2007 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships and Beijing 2008 Olympic gold medals for the United States with Phil Dalhausser. “I want to see Theo be successful now and for years to come. He has all the physical capabilities to be in the Olympics, including youth and fantastic blocking.”
A former representative for the players on the FIVB Beach Volleyball Council and a current member of the board of directors for USA Volleyball, Rogers also answers other questions prior to the Puerto Vallarta Open where the men’s qualifier opens play Tuesday with the women’s preliminary rounds set for Wednesday on the Playa Camarones. The men’s medal match will be Saturday with the women’s finals Sunday.
Question - With collegiate All-American credentials indoors, did you ever have the opportunity to compete internationally for the United States at volleyball?
Question - Who was responsible for getting you started playing beach volleyball?
Question - Was there a "turning point" during your first three years on the domestic tour that you knew that you had the "right stuff" to be a successful beach volleyball player?
Question - What were your initial thoughts about playing internationally on the FIVB tour?
Question - Obviously, gold medals at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games and at the 2007 FIVB World Championships in Gstaad have to rank as your top moments as a beach volleyball player. Can you rank your next three "major" accomplishments as a player? If so, why these three?
Question - Statistically, the teams of Emanuel/Ricardo (34 FIVB wins) and Dalhausser/Rogers (23) rank as the top two teams ever to play internationally. The two teams met 11 times with the Brazilians winning seven matches. Do you consider Emanuel/Ricardo and you and Phil as the best two teams? How do to rank the top men's beach volleyball of all-time during your career?
Question - Obviously, the game has changed during your career. What has been the biggest change? Do you feel the changes have bettered the beach volleyball competition?
Question - Is this your last year of playing or will you seek an opportunity to play for a spot in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games?
Question - A lot of travel the past 20 years for you. What have been the highlights away from the competition? Any memorable moments for you and your family?
Question - Any final thoughts from "The Toddfather".