Mike Whitmarsh Biography

Mike Whitmarsh was a big part of the growth of beach volleyball in the late ’80s and early ’90s. He was a part of a group of guys who really brought attention to the sport of beach volleyball.

Whitmarsh picked up the game much later in life than most professional athletes. Loved by many players and fans, Whitmarsh displayed tons of positive energy on and off the court.

The best way for me to put it is that we played together for six years. When you play together for that long on the beach, you go through everything together," said Dodd, who initially partnered with Whitmarsh in 1993. "In the end, you are much more like a brother than a friend or a fellow competitor. Mike was like my brother." -- Mike Dodd

Mike Whitmarsh and partner Mike Dodd were silver medalists at the inaugural mens olympic beach volleyball competition in 1996 in Atlanta. They received the silver medal while fellow Americans Karch Kiraly and Kent Steffes took the gold.

"I don't know if you will find in all of sports someone who was better liked by all of his peers, meaning competitors..." "...that's very rare to find, especially in a sport like beach volleyball when everybody is going after each other for prize money."
-- Karch Kiraly

Mike Whitmarsh


Whitmarsh earned more than $1.4 million in his domestic pro beach volleyball career, winning 25 titles, which placed him sixth on the U.S. career earnings list. AVP Rookie of the Year in 1990. At 28, was named Best Blocker on the AVP in 2002

More numbers...

  • ranks ninth in the overall career-earnings list (international and domestic)

  • won more than $150,000 and had three first-place finishes along with six silvers and one bronze in 18 FIVB beach volleyball events

  • In 2003, named to the 75th Anniversary Beach Volleyball All-Era Team.

  • AVP Rookie of the Year 1990

  • AVP Best Blocker 2002

  • AVP Role Model Award 2003

  • AVP Special Achievement 2003

  • AVP Lifetime Achievement 2004

"He was an incredible athlete...in his prime, he was getting up higher and hanging longer and doing more things at the net than anyone. But what was really incredible was his quickness and speed."
-- Mike Dodd

Mike Whitmarsh spiking at the net

  • Whitmarsh played his final FIVB matches in 2003 and his last AVP matches in 2004 at age 42.

  • In January 2008, Whitmarsh was one of five Olympians to go on the U.S. Army Olympic Heroes Goodwill Tour of Afghanistan and Qatar.

  • Whitmarsh was born in San Diego and attended Monte Vista High. He later went on to Grossmont College in California before transferring to the University of San Diego. In 1984, he led the school to its first West Coast Conference basketball championship. At 6-foot-7, Whitmarsh was drafted by the Portland Trailblazers and played briefly with the Minnesota Timberwolves before impacting beach volleyball history with an illustrious career.

  • One of the few top 10 players who did not grow up playing the sport.

  • Whitmarsh is married to Cindy who owns a fitness and nutrition company.

  • Enjoys traveling, competing in various sports and reading a good book.

  • After leaving the volleyball tour, Whitmarsh worked in real estate in San Diego County.

  • Along with Dodd, Whitmarsh partnered with Brian Lewis, Canyon Ceman, Jon Stevenson and Brent Frohoff among others during his beach career.

More inspirational volleyball quotes by the pros...

"When we first saw him we all thought, Oh my God, who is this guy?.....he was taller and longer and jumped higher than anyone we had seen. But he didn't know how to play volleyball. He didn't have an arm swing. He moved to Manhattan Beach and paid his dues.”
-- Mike Dodd

"He started with a real disadvantage.....but picking up the sport as late as he did to become one of the best in the world is a mind-boggling accomplishment."
-- Karch Kiraly

"At 6-foot-7, he was one of the original big men in what used to be a sport with no big men...he paved the way for the Phil Dalhaussers, Mike Lamberts, Matt Fuerbringers and Jeff Nygaards. He gave hope to big men everywhere."
-- Karch Kiraly

Mike Whitmarsh Related Pages

Misty May

Kerri Walsh

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