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Volleyball Kings of the Court


On this episode of Establishing Your Empire I host Adam Johnson and LJ Luciano. Adam Johnson is one of the winningest players in pro beach volleyball history. He has won over $1.6 million dollars in prize money with 44 event titles. Johnson and Karch Kiraly just missed qualifying for the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games when Kiraly suffered an injury in the final qualifying event. He won the King of the Beach in 1994, he was a member of the U. S. National Team, a three-time All-American at USC and is in the Hall of Fame. Also joining us is LJ Luciano who co-created the self-proclaimed ‘Coolest Group in the Sand’ The Sand Wannabes.  The group has over 10,000 members and provides a medium for players of all levels to find where to play, meet other players and chat about volleyball. 

Listen on: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | YouTube | Pandora

How would I like to be remembered? I guess somebody that gave a hundred percent effort you know, every, every point I, you know, I’m one of those guys that doesn’t look at, you know, look ahead and like, Oh, we need five points. Let’s get five points, let’s get a pass. And then let’s set the ball and then let’s hit the ball. I love giving back to the game that gave me everything, you know, I’m just out here to help people.


Welcome to the establishing your empire show. I’ve got a special show here. We’ve got two different guests. So I’ve got Adam and LJ here, both volleyball Kings of the court here in Austin, Texas. Well, at least one of them is what I was start off and give a quick kind of overview who you are. So people who don’t know who you are.

Well, my name’s Adam Johnson. I grew up in Laguna beach, California, where I played volleyball. I started playing volleyball at age 13 kind of late for volleyball. Played all the way in high school. Got a scholarship, went on to play at USC. After USC was on the national team for a couple of years decided to forego playing on the national team and go overseas and play in Italy.

So I left the team and was banned for life. That’s always, that’s a good one to have on the resume. And then I knew once I was, once I came back, I started playing on the ABP tour in that started in 1990 until 2000. And moved to Austin, Texas in 2006 and started a indoor and beach juniors program here in town.

And it’s still alive and kicking I’ll check. Well, I’m not gonna be able to top that. So I started playing volleyball at 34 years of age, which is a little late, obviously. So I’m basically here because I created the San wannabes, which is a enthusiast group in Austin. And it’s grown to other cities in Texas and one in Oklahoma.

But the goal of being the BFW or the Elk’s lodge of beach volleyball, where you moved to Baltimore, you moved to Phoenix and you can just plug yourself into that volleyball community. Cause you were a San Juan and be in Houston, Austin, Dallas, wherever. And that’s a love of the lover of the game.

Really start off, like, just so you know, a lot of my audience is going to be more of these entrepreneurial folks, all that stuff. So let’s dive right into. How many championships have you won? Stuff like that. So people say, okay, this is somebody who is not just a volleyball player. This is, you know, somebody who’s been around the block a long time.

Right? I, I have total of 45 open victories worldwide. Nine of those, which are majors like five us championships. I have a world championship. I have a King of the beach. I’m sure there’s one in there that I’m missing, but those are the types of tournaments that we’ve been playing and I’ve been very fortunate to be able to travel, you know, all around the world and see some pretty cool places and LJ.

So say I want to be started with 20 individuals, literally 20 individuals that live in an apartment complex. And now we’re up to about 10,000 members. So it, it was a slow, gradual organic growth. And now we’ve become kind of a force in the beach volleyball community. I love it. So I’ll, do you want to, you want to start off with some questions or how do you want to run this?

Cause I think we’re going to kind of go back and forth a little bit. Okay. Well, I have several I wasn’t aware that I was supposed to bring some questions. You’re the interesting one. So I’m actually saying some of the things I wanted to ask you about. Based on conversations I’ve seen on Facebook. So I’m going to start with, with the, with the, with the big one, there’s a conversation about the greatest of all time.

A lot of people, new and new to the game say it’s Philadel Hauser. A lot of the old school say it’s a cart’s Kariah you played with and against Karcher. You obviously know who Phil is. I want to get your thoughts on why you believe Karcher is the greatest of all time you were on that. You were on that thread.

I started throwing some bombs at you, but now I, you know, it’s I think the thing that’s that’s unique about that. Is w you’re going to be debate. We’re going to be debating that for forever. You know, it it’s just two different eras, two different athletes. You know, I think I did say on, on that thread, you know, at least Karcher.

One on both courts where Phil didn’t and I’m not saying that Phil can’t I’m well aware that he is a very, very good player, very talented. It’s just a different game on the, on the big court period. I mean I can’t say, I mean, I could say that Karcher is the best because he’s won the most. He, he’s a guy that, you know, with all his gold medals has brought a lot of players.

He he’s just re he’s raised their level of game, you know? And I think that that’s a big part of somebodies being the best or whatever. And I’m not saying Phil hasn’t done that or can’t do that because I’ve never played with him. I’ve only played against him once in 2005 in Santa Barbara and they, you know, pretty much smoked us.

But that was when I, when I came back after five years of a hiatus. So six one half dozen, the other, you know, if you, if you go purely on open victories, it’s, Karcher, you know, hands down now you say, well, he had so many tournaments to play that. Do you remember? But if Phil plays in, you know, up until Karsh does any plays in 10 tournaments a year, which see whether they’re international or here, that’s pretty easy.

He’s going to surpass playing cards. So he needs to win. If I’m mistaken, I think he needs to win 60 of those 70, which I don’t know is going to happen. Wow. Wow. That’s but that’s part, that’s part of it. So tell us maybe one of your favorite stories or favorite matches that you’ve had in your career?

Well, I’ve, I’ve had, I’ve had many and I was talking to somebody else cause I’ve been flying around on Facebook lately. They’ve been doing some things on me and. People giving me a hard time and, and whatnot. And, you know, one that really sticks out in my mind and it’s, it’s probably not a good one to use for these other guys, but we play in Jose Quervo has a gold crown tournament, which is a major they have three of them.

They had three of them during the year and the winners would take home a hundred grand. And the second place team takes home 20, 20,500, which you know, still a lot of money, but it’s. It’s either the, you know, the Cadillac or the steak knives. And so I was playing with Jose Loyola at the time and we were, we had to play cards and can’t in the semis to get to the finals.

And it was just a long drawn out match. I think we beat them 13, 11, or something like that. 14, 12 on time. And so we were pretty much dead and we’re in the, we’re in the tent talking to each other saying, we’ve got no energy. We got to get out fast and we need to do something to get these guys off their game.

Long story short, we go out and beat them 15 zero in the final of a major. And that’s never been had, that’s never happened. Wow. A major and you know, there’s so I, the only reason why I liked that is because you know, of the, the position that we were in the guys we were playing against the course and, you know, just the fact that it fit, you know, we’re the tired ones and we beat them 15, zero in the finals.

W we ha we had no choice. We had to get out quick. We got off to a quick start and they just never could get into a rhythm. I think they just were, you know, in that position, I mean, they played, well, we just made no mistakes and that’s inside out. You can make, you know, we miss a serve, you know, or something like that, or hit a ball out its side out, you know?

And so we, we just we were in we’re in the zone. We just kept going. And that was, that was probably one of my most memorable victories. So let’s talk all about Sam, one of these a little bit. So what, where do you see the future going? And, and if you wouldn’t want to go there also, you could just talk about some kind of cool things that are happening now or pre COVID even.

Well, Sam wanted me, he’s obviously wants to continue to run high level volleyball events in Austin would like to expand to other areas. Like I said earlier, the future is just more cities, more groups that to where you say, I want to, these is known nationwide right now. We’re basically a Texas based entity and the goal would be to be known everywhere.

And I think we’re getting there slowly and surely by. Getting to know the pros, getting to know Adam and running these big events and obviously being a big presence in social media. What about your favorite tournament? You guys have either hosted or even just be a part of favorite tournament. Is Sam going to be threes?

Because it was the original, it’s an invite only tournament, which does hurt a lot of feelings in Austin. And the rankings are basically based on my opinion, which sometimes I get a little grief for. But it’s a zero politics. Every task, the worst player is supposed to get as many, but it’s one girl, two guys, it is blown up, but with this has to be the 10th year.

And I feel like that that was our is only special because that was our first. Have we run bigger ones than that? Yes. The sharp vision tournament that I helped to run was, you know, had Adam played in it and there was AVP champions in the Forman tournament. There was AVP champions in it. There was NCAA champions in it.

That was a bigger tournament, but the say I want to be threes wide Guthrie’s will always have special place. Tell us about the turtle challenge. So the turtle challenge, the turtle challenge is because I am a slightly. Slow player. So you get to endure a day of trying to get me as far as determined as possible, and some good friends I’ve really taken to it.

In fact, one Tony apartment has probably taken it more times than. Should ever be taken Chibi should be sainted for how many times she’s had to play with me. And so the turtle challenges, I need a speedy partner with some offense to make up for my challenges. I love it. So something about your story that I didn’t know, Adam is about the going to play overseas.

And then you said you were banned here. Can you give us that story right? Well, yeah. You know, I was, I mean, the story is as you know, I played on the national team in 88 and 89. I didn’t make the team in the Olympics, of course. So when they came back, I rejoined the team after they got back and then continued on an 89.

Well, yeah. When it came down to finances, you know, you’re not making a whole lot of money and I’m just trying to get by, you know, I’m 24 years old at the time or whatever 25. And you just want to have your expenses paid for, I’m not living large by any means. Although I did live across the street from Cohasset beach in San Diego, so it was kind of nice, but I was having to pay about $200 a month to play on the team.

And I went to him and said, listen, I know that there’s some guys on the team that have gold metals, but I’m starting ahead of them. I need more money period. And I had somebody from an agent from Italy, contact me and said, Hey, we have an opening. We’d love to have you over there. And it was at that time for a great sum of money.

For a kid that’s, you know, he’s at a 10, 10, 40 easy form for, you know, his entire life. And I, and I told the national team, I said, this is, this is my deal. And they, they couldn’t help me out. And I said, okay, then I need to, I need to leave. And they, then, you know, throughout the threat, you’ll never play on the national team again.

And I just said, well, then I guess I won’t ever play. And then it, and then I go over there and play. Ended up getting married to my wife over there, which was very, which, which was very cool and had a great time. It’s a great culture over there. I’d love to get back and, you know, do something over there, whether it’s visit or coach or, or whatever, but they said some really fabulous people over there and really, really good food and he regrets.

But that decision, not at all, not at all. You know, it’s I had a very successful beach career. I doubt I would make the kind of money on the, on the two on the team that I did when I was on the tour. But you know, I, I didn’t have an opportunity at the time to, to go back to the Olympics. And then when beach volleyball came on, of course the first year was pretty political and how the U S got to choose their teams.

And unfortunately, Randy stoke close my partner at the time injured his ankle right before our first match. We had two opportunities to win, to go to be one of the teams and he twisted his ankle pretty good. And that was that. And then in 2000, when I was playing with . All we had to do, and this is the, this is the scary thing.

All we had to do was qualify into the main draw, which we did all the time. It wasn’t a big deal. We were going to do it again. All we’d do is qualify in and in that match to qualify in, he midway through and we were winning, whatever didn’t matter, but he, he dislocated his shoulder. So we were out. And the next team that had to, that had the most points was Dane Blanton and Eric  and they had to.

Get fifth or better, which they’ve never done better than knife. And so somehow there’s stuff behind the scenes. I don’t want to get into somehow they got third. So, and then they went on to doing the gold medal. So good for them. That’s crazy. If they went on to win the gold medal when they probably shouldn’t have even qualified.

Well, the other thing about that, that people don’t know is that The FIV be two weeks before that 2000 Olympics decided to change the rankings, meaning Brazil was one and two, so they should have been on opposite sides of the draw. But the fib fib said, well, we can, we’re going to make the host country number one seed.

So then now two, now two and three are down on the bottom. So it’s in Brazil. So they did that because they didn’t want Brazil, Brazil in the final. And so that upper bracket, which is where Dane and fungi were, was a wide open. Now I’m not saying that, you know, it was easy, but it was wide open and to play, to play the Brazil team and the final and beat him, I had to play well and they did.

So they, I mean, they deserve it. I’m not taking it away from it, but there were some really interesting things that are behind the scenes. A lot of people don’t even have a clue about. Interesting. Tell us about the, the transition from indoor to beach. And, you know, it’s a little different era too, so I don’t know how much different beach was back then versus now.

Like it’s so much harder back then. Right. So when you started playing ball about 13, so were you playing indoor? No. No. I grew up in Laguna beach, California, and I never played beach volleyball really until I turned pro or when I was on the national team I played in, in like in 89, I played in five events.

I think it was five events with Troy Tanner because we were on the national team again. So how did you know that your game was going to translate to twos? I didn’t kind of figured, you know, that you had to be an all around player. And I was an all around player. It wasn’t easy, you know, I mean, I got dumped quite a bit right off the bat and but I knew that, you know, I had confidence in my game and that I was going to get there eventually.

So it was just one of those kinds of things. Which one do you like better? I, you know I mean, if I had to choose one to play for the rest of my life, or, you know, for all my, I play beach, because it’s easier on your body, it’s outdoors, it’s, you know, there’s a whole lot of the whole gamut, you know, but the indoor game is, is really, is it’s really an awesome game because you have a whole team that you need everything running smoothly.

It’s faster. Of course, and you know, the balls coming at you a lot faster as well. So there’s, there’s. There’s pluses and minuses for both of them. If we got to take yourself back, you know, you started playing at 13, but maybe like a few years after that, what advice would you give your 16, 17 year old self?

Ooh, I should’ve played, but I should have probably started playing golf now. My 15 you know, I’d probably say get on the beach and play, you know that’s one thing that when I did have a full season on the beach and I, I finished third at us championships that year with Steve Timmins. We then we had this indoor professional.

It was kind of a semi-pro, I mean, it was professional league, but called I’m spacing on the name of it, but it was played at the The forum because Jeanie buss and Steve Timmins were married at the time. And so they said, Hey, let’s, let’s say it’s team cup volleyball. And you can look that up on YouTube and all that.

But it was, they did what they did is they took all the top beach guys and all the top indoor national team players. And they just threw them together. They made, I think four, four, six teams, and then they just played. They just showed up and play take Toyota, bisexual. I mean, It was fun. But getting back to, you know, after a full season or a whole year of not playing indoors, then coming back indoors after a full season of beach, I was like, man, this is easy game now, you know, and I kind of wish I could have done this sooner, but you know, I was just a beach bum.

So being a professional athlete, talk to us about the transition into no, no longer being a professional athlete. How did that happen? Anything that any recommendations you have for other athletes out there or anywhere you want to take it right. Well, I, you know, I’m, I’m not your typical, I mean, you hear a lot of these stories, like, Oh my God, what am I going to do?

Now? I’m an athlete. You know what, you know, so I was easy, you know, it was easy for me to transition into coaching club volleyball, junior club volleyball. So for me, it was. Just a continuation of doing what I love to do. And, and I’m still doing it. So it wasn’t real hard for me to do. I think the, the one thing that I brought to the table was the, the efficiency, making sure everybody’s there on time and doing all this kind of stuff.

And you know, I, I still to this day tell people that I’ve only been. Late to a tournament or a practice twice in 17 years, which is unheard. I mean, it’s unheard of, I mean, and people kind of go through, what’s so big about that. I’m like, that’s huge. Right. And one of the reasons I was late to one of my tournaments was because my daughter at the time.

I actually brought her to my, where we both had tournaments in San Antonio and I brought her to where I was playing. And then I figured out I was in the wrong spot, so I had to take her. So she was late. So she had to do coach on one and then I was late. So I had to do coach on one and she got to give me one too.

So it was kind of one of those fun things, but you know, those are the types of things and just, just, you know, the, the preparation, you know, for the teams and, and, you know, I teach them like they’re professionals. You know, and, and whether they’re going to be, or not, they’re, they’re at least going to be taught that.

So you say obviously showing up on time is very important. What other things, because I think I want people to understand that you are arguably in the top. Five, what number six American players of all time. And if you go on earnings, you know, so I don’t want to, I want, I want people to know so that you, maybe you don’t want to prop yourself, but, but I’m going prop you up.

Like, you know, you were two injuries away from the Olympics. You have, you are hall of Famer, you know, you did play for the U S indoor team. So I want you to talk about what are some of the things besides being punctual that. People that that made you major the player you were like, what, what do you think was the th th that separating?

Cause you know that from being an open player, Texas open to, to California, open to AVP champ, there’s little gradients of difference. Yeah. You, you, you hit it spot on and you know, from what I can tell, and I’m working with a lot of the, the open players around here in Texas as well, and yeah. You know by no means putting, you know, saying anything about anybody.

I’m just saying what I know or what I see. You know, I was blessed with athleticism. Okay. I had an offer to go play football in Berkeley, my senior year to, to kick. To, to punt probably could have walked on and played soccer somewhere. So for me it was just about, now I know what sport I’m playing and now I got to put all my focus on it.

So I think that, that you have to have a drive, you know, I think you have to want to be better also, you know, I mean, there’s a lot of guys that say I want to be better. But, you know, if I’m working with them or I see them do something, I say, listen, I’ve been telling you this. And you know, over and over and over and over and over, it’s still not happening.

You know? So I think that the, the drive, the goals, the self-confidence, I think all that stuff is kind of wrapped into being that type of player. I mean, there’s a lot of players that have that, that maybe don’t have the skill and they have to work their tail off, but they get there. And it’s just, it’s just a matter of like, you know, when I was playing you know, I, when I first started playing, I was paying all my expenses to the tournaments and stuff like that.

And I didn’t worry about not making any money. Whereas when I got good and we hung out with some of these players that are trying to make it, they’re like, I gotta, I gotta, I gotta finish 13th just to eat tonight. And I’m thinking to them, that’s the wrong thought process? You know, you should not even worry about that kind of stuff because.

That brings it, that that thought brings it right into your game. And it just puts a lot of pressure on you. It’s just like all the kids nowadays in club volleyball their, their parents put so much pressure on them for scholarship. I didn’t even notice scholarship was my senior year in high school until I actually got one, you know, in the mail.

But now they’re like at age 12. Oh, there’s the, there’s the, the UT coach he’s here watching me. Oh my gosh. At age 12, you know, I’m like really. Oh, really? So were you the Michael Jordan killer kill it in practice type or were you the, I hear Johnny Haydn. He only does. If there’s eight reps, he only does eight reps.

You know, where you, the overachiever and practice or where you to just do what you need? No, I, I practice hard. You know, to give you another example when we had to do sprints, whenever you do you do something wrong or you don’t when the drill or whatever you have to do sprints. And so when I was at SC for four years, I never lost a sprint.

Right. So that’s kind of where, where my mind game is. Right. So, sorry, you’re starting to sound like if there was a spin, the chair contests. You were all in and you were going to win everything. And I’m very competitive too. Yeah. I tell, I tell the story all the time to everybody. I said, you know, my wife and I get up at the same time.

I’m getting the first cup of coffee, even if she’s standing right there and she’s already poured her cream in it, I’m grabbing the I’m like reaching around, grabbing yeah. Coffee. I get in trouble for that. Yeah. You’re not metering nearly. We were, we were high school sweethearts, if you will. I kind of. Was we started going out after I kind of graduated that summer, but we’ll call it that 31 31 years coming up in March.

So that’s great. So also do tie it back to the, to the, the professional volleyball career. What about some stuff that you wish you would have done? That was not so much on the court, like off the court things, some things that maybe you might have recommendations for young athletes out there, or even just what you wish you would.

Well, I think, you know, looking back, and this is just from my, my career I wish I had gotten my real estate license right off the bat because we, you know, my wife and I probably bought, I think we bought six houses. In the time that we were married in California, that would have saved us a lot of money.

So that’s one thing that I think that you can do, especially nowadays. And, you know, again, when I grew up playing. We were making a lot more money than these guys are now, these guys, unfortunately they’re the, you know, it’s hard to survive, so you have to have a job job, like a nine to five or you, you gotta be an entrepreneur.

I think that something that’s good for a lot of the guys or girls is to start a beach club, you know, because you got your name out there, you’re a professional playing on the tour and all that kind of stuff, you know? I have no idea, like. Sarah Hughes. I have no idea why she doesn’t have a program.

You know, maybe she’s just so focused and she makes enough money on her sponsors that she doesn’t do that. But I suggested that a while ago, I said, you know, all you have to do is show up sometimes and have some other people run it for you and kind of thing. But I think those are the kind of things that you’re involved with volleyball.

Cause it’s all about marketing. It’s all about the social media and all that kind of stuff, which, you know, I, our, our social media when I played was NBC. Right. So why do you think that players aren’t making as much, you know, we have the obvious thing is the TV contracts aren’t as good, but it’s something with the sport, right.

Or who manages the sport or however you want to take it. Well, this is my take and it’s easy, you know, it’s, everybody’s, everybody’s got their own opinion, but yeah. I think that when we, when the, when the AVP decided to send teams to the Olympics, we gave full power to the, the, the FIV FIV B, meaning they now have the strongest tour in the world.

They can call themselves the best. They have the best players on the world, on their tour, which before we, we always did you know, even up until 2000, we had the, we still have the best. So I, I kinda look at what’s what’s happened with the Olympics is there’s only two or three teams now that are really making any money.

And I don’t know, I don’t even know how much they’re making to be quite honest with you. I don’t know that, you know, Phil Dell, Dell Hauser, even if he’s the best player for the United States, I don’t know if he’s making the kind of money carts was from his sponsors. You know, I just don’t know. Do you think that if Philadelphia Houser or whomever it was, is the top players.

Do you think the car’s crowd was just more marketable or do you think just the sport has lost some spot, some viewership? I don’t think they’ve lost viewership. I think that they’ve, they’ve lost a lot. They’ve lost a lot of momentum. I mean, if you’re a, the way I kind of look at it as if you’re a sponsor, would you rather sponsor the PGA or the European PGA?

Right now I’d want to be the PGA. So there now that’s the FIPB is the PGA and the AVP is European because it’s so small. You know, there’s other things that have been going on, but I think we’re seeing something, a microcosm of this happening. With the live streaming on this smaller events in San wannabes, big, big piece of this, where there’s getting thousands of thousands of views for a low-level tournament you know, way high level in my perspective, but low level in the national scheme of things.

Why don’t you talk LJ, maybe go talk to us a little bit about like what’s what you’re seeing there, or maybe the future, anything that you have there. So it’s very regionalized. So when you do a live stream, mostly. The niche sport as it is right now are watching it. But we do get views from California and Florida because everybody’s starting to get to know each other because of social media, but getting back to way you set up a law ago about, I think one of the problems with the players that are let’s go 27 and under, they are only attacking social media where y’all were attacking national sponsors.

You know, big name sponsors where there’s this, there’s this feeling that you get a thousand likes. But you did something and I’m a social media guru, and I realized that that didn’t bring in any revenue. So there’s a difference in the way the younger players are looking at marketing themselves and making money.

And I don’t think it’s attracting Miller light and, and Ray-Ban, and back at like that stuff back in the day where y’all made some big time decisions that changed your personal incomes like I didn’t someone, was it the Oakley you changed with someone went from. Ray-Ban to Oakley or something like that, or it wasn’t

they call it. Yeah. But I mean, those are national names that everybody can recognize, you know, right now you have clean skin, nothing wrong with that product, you know, but you have a lot of. Smaller Conan brewing, but that’s, that’s, that’s the problem though, because you get the Nike’s the copper tones, the S well, it was Spalding for me, but you know, now Wilson, you know, those, those types of.

Kodak, you know, those are national brands that I had. I mean, I was probably the most, the sponsored athlete out there. I had an agent for a little while he killed, he killed my buzz. The first, after my first eye, the contract for him, it was a two year deal. And for, for X amount of percentage, I, when the, I just signed my Nike deal, I won my first tournament that day.

I drive him home to LA. He says, Hey, you need to come upstairs for a second. And he goes, I’m going to need more money. And I go, are you joking? You’re joking. Right. And I, and I just, I turned around and walked away. I said, I signed this contract. This is what it is for two years, you know, which was a buzzkill.

And it was inappropriate for him to do that. But but I think that the, the, again, the tour back in the day, we had 24 stops. You know, and so, so when we were able to go out and get those sponsors and say, Hey, we’re going to be at these 24 tournaments. We got NBC, we got this and that, you know, that’s NBC.

I was, I went from zero to hero in, in three, with 30 tournaments, you know, and that, and then you get the guys like, you know, Hoblin, who’s pissed off at me because. You know, he, he spent 10 years trying to get to where I got in three tournaments, you know, and that’s, and that’s just the way it is. I mean, I wish we had social media back in the day.

I think it’s great for the guys, but like you said, I think that they can use it a little bit better and do different things, but again, it’s, it’s, it’s it’s attracting the crowd and it’s not, it’s not, it’s just not what it used to be. Right. So I want to give an example, like, so like Sarah sponsor, NCA champion, probably the future of.

ABP and international ma my little height challenge. So it might help hurt her in the long run. How does, how does she get those national sponsors? Like, did you did a Nike rep come to you? Did you go to the Nike rep? Like someone is up and coming, like, like, you know, how would she get that? Well, before I had a, before I had a an agent, I went out and got some sponsors on my own.

We had these, you know Clothing company shows and all these kind of, you know, things that we, you know, just go and hand them your resume and say, Hey, I played, I played beach volleyball. I played on the national team. You know, you get, of course, that’s what I had to do. I was on the national, I played at SC you know, all American, this and that national team.

Now I’m coming out on the beach, I’m going to be something. And this is what you’re going to look for in the future. And we’re going to be on TV and do all this kind of stuff. So, you know, they can do that kind of stuff. You know, unfortunately they don’t have the big NBC stuff right now. They’ve got all, it’s all online.

Which is interesting. I think it’s great for the viewer. That’s great. I have a great time. I love Amazon and watching it for 10 hours straight. It is. And I think that that’s great, but is that, is that what the sponsors want? Is that what they’re looking for is that they feel that they’re getting their money’s worth.

And it’s, it’s just not the tour that it used to be. I mean, there’s no, there’s no beauty contest anymore on the, where do you see the future of the sport? Sadly, I’ve heard some rumors that they might not even have a tour this year. You know, I don’t know if that’s a rumor, I don’t want to start something, but I heard that.

And I think that, you know with, you know, like sharp vision, doing some stuff with Forman and you know, doing smaller events, I can see. More entities, like sharp vision, maybe doing their own events, you know, because I understand now the, the the players on the tour don’t have contracts, so they’re able to go play it else elsewhere.

Let’s talk about that real quick. Okay. Thanks for that exclusivity contract, that exclusively contract. I didn’t see it. So I went to an NVL and you had future stars there. He didn’t care. And Beulah was there that you use Mr. Sky ball. Adrian can Beulah place in Italy. They call him Mr. Sky ball. He played the Olympics.

Anyway, he they all had to forfeit their first round match because ADP said, if you play in a, in VL tournament, you are gonna, you’re not gonna able to play ADP. Right. What was there, was there an exclusive exclusivity contract back in your day? Like what, how do you feel about that? If you’re trying to, if you’re trying to build the business, right?

If I’m, if I’m gonna buy the AVP. And make it to what and tell them, Hey, you get, nobody can go to the Olympics. I’m going to have persons up the Gazoo, you know, because that’s the only way it’s going to make it again about leverage. And I just know, unfortunately I don’t see the leverage being an AVP at this moment.

Yeah, exactly. Because they, you know, that people want to go to the Olympics, you know, so you’re going to have your top four or five, six teams going out, you know, trying to do that. But you know, I think that you have it, you have to have that exclusivity to try and build the brand. But it’s, but, but right now, I mean, they’re not really building anything and they’re losing, you know, they’re losing ground.

So I, as an owner would probably say, Hey, go, I’ll let you play some other tournaments that aren’t conflicting, you know, as long as you’re playing on my tour, you know? Cause I also where it is right now, I also see and cause I didn’t start playing volleyball too. I moved to Austin, Texas, you know, this is sport, like number four for me.

Right. But. Since, and that was 10 years ago, probably. So I’ve seen the sport grow quite a bit in, you know, just in popularity, a lot of people coming and this might be just a microcosm of Austin, Texas. So I get bullish on the sport getting bigger and better, but it, you know, are we going to get it to that level to be where it’s not a secondary sport?

What’s great about online is the secondary sport costs you less as like, you know, sharp. Vision’s picking this up a lot. Which is a LASIK provider, if somebody’s listening and they did my eyes. So, so highly recommend. Yeah. Yeah. But I do see some opportunities for a lot of the second tier sponsors that hopefully can bring it to that next level.

Like the UFC was right. You had Mickey’s sponsoring like the UFC in until it got larger. And, you know, luckily they had a, you know, a very charismatic leader there with Dana white, but. So let’s talk about that. We just talked about, cause I say that volleyball needs to adopt the UFC USTA model NASCAR model, where Casey passionate does the best job of marketing himself these days.

And he’s logoed up and he pimps his sponsors daily. How do we get to that NASCAR UFC, where people are just rooting for this player versus that player, you know? And what is your opinion on that? Like how, how does, how does a player get themselves there? Well, and again, this is ADP helped them get there.

Well, it did AVP didn’t help us a lot, right. As players you know, I had some issues with them. Power. It is perfect. Great story. Powerade was our, one of our tour sponsors and there were some lower tier players that got the sponsorship deals. And I, you know, I kind of go, you know, and there’s always this South Bay, orange County thing, and there’s all the politics.

And all of a sudden I was kinda like, I don’t understand why those guys are getting the deals. So I’m going to go get Gatorade. Right. So I go get Gatorade and I’m sitting in the, you know, on the sideline on center court and the Powerade booth, you know, drinking my out of my Gatorade thing. And all of a sudden, I’m the, I’m the bad guy.

I’m the worst guy in the world. Right. And, you know, even, even at that time, Karcher, we, we had a big player meeting and everything, and Carter gets up, you’re gonna, you’re gonna ruin this sponsorship for us. And I’m like, you know, even then I was like, Oh, she’s, you know you know, and I was a little nervous, but Kent stood up and said he has every right to do that, which is true.

You know, the only thing in the contract, I’m a contract follower. I’m a follower, dude. I mean, I signed something. I’ll do whatever it says. The only thing we couldn’t do is get a beverage sponsor. Like, you know, another beer sponsor, anything else you can get. So I did nothing wrong and I told, I even told those guys.

I said, listen, you get Powerade to give me the same and same deal that I’ve got and I’ll go away. And, and that’s, and that’s when we talk about leverage earlier, or at least I did, and that’s a perfect position to where you, you, you had a lot of leverage there. So I would like to know, did they let you keep drinking the Gatorade or they had no choice.

I did get, that was in the, that was the San Francisco tournament that I won with Randy stoke lows. And I got a check in the mail for $0. Cause they. Where they were holding my withholding my money and I’ve still got the check. So it’s kind of cool, but yeah, I eventually got the money. But yeah, but I think too, you know, getting back to leverage, I think if, if we were to have it to go back to where it was.

A lot of stuff has to happen. Guys, can’t go to the Olympics, we got to stay here and you just got to commit to it. And if you’ve got the, if you’ve got the big bucks, you know, if the money’s there and you somehow get it all in there, people are going to go where the money is. What about some stories with, with playing with Karcher?

Oh, R R any story with him, cause he’s kind of the most famous viable player, right? Yeah. No, he’s, he’s a, he’s a, yeah, he was my favorite partner to play with for a lot of different reasons. One, I didn’t have to worry about him and know, and he remembers everything and which is which I don’t like, because, because sometimes, you know, the way that I play, I, we can have a long rally and w however, it ends, it ends.

And I go, I can look over him and say what just happened. You know, cause I’m, so I’m in I’m so engulfed in the moment in what I’m doing that I just forget. And so we’re we’re at the you know, this one, you know, we’re, we’re playing in the world championships in, in, in France. And I think that was in 97 or eight and we’re, we’re up 13 to eight on this team.

And we, when we go to the semis and all this kind of stuff, we ended up losing, I started just gaffing. I gagged, I gagged, we lost 15, 13. And we get back to the hotel room and, you know, we don’t talk, we take showers, whatever. I start reading a book and he’s sitting at the end of his bed, you know, we’re both in our beds and he’s sent at the end of the bed was just sitting there for like 45 minutes.

Not saying a word, you know, with his hands under there. And then yeah. Yeah. I said some things and cussed it up and I go, okay, I’m sorry. It was my fault. And he’s like, no, I should have done this or this. Or, you know, he should, he blames himself, you know, he’s like, what could I have done? So, you know, I mean, those are, that’s just shows you how competitive he is and what he feels he, he could, he could have done or didn’t do or whatever.

And he’s always trying to, you know, be better if you will. I was just going to say, what was one of the biggest matches that you ever won your career to something that sticks out. I would probably say my first us championships with Ricky Luteiz we were down you know, that’s when the time clock first came in and we were down against Randy and Sinjin and we came back and won, you know, and you know, when time ran out and, you know, here, you know, both of us were, you know, relatively new to the winter circle and it was just, you know, the us championships.

It was, it was pretty amazing. I mean, that was probably. You know, one of the bigger, bigger events. And then, you know, now Kent, Kent steffis is doing some stuff on, on old school and he’s talking about the world championships down in Brazil. And that was pretty big time too for a lot of different reasons, because there were so many people that were so against us, you know, and I mean, my name down there was Shusha.

Which is a, she’s a a TV talent down there, bleach blonde hair and the whole crowd. I mean, I’m talking, I don’t know how many people are in that stance, but there’s, there’s a lot, they’re all shoo shoo, shoo, shoo. I mean, yeah, everybody and, you know, and we, we ended up winning and it was hot and all the above, but it was, it was just a great place to play.

But I’d say those are probably two of my, my biggest memories for those out there. What I can step is writing a lot of stories about how to be a winner. And if you go online and look up this stuff on Facebook, it’s, it’s pretty, pretty good writing. I want to ask you, you talked about those NBC matches, which match propelled you, which match puts you on the national, on the national map.

Well, I I’d have to say it was either the us championships or the weekend before in Milwaukee, which was the first live telecast.  So not Manhattan beach, not the granddaddy of them all. No, I don’t think so. I didn’t win Manhattan in. Well, I mean, I got to the finals in 93, which is all over the place right now, but and then we won in 94, 95, but I definitely say her Moses started it because even, even after Milwaukee, you know, it might be flying home.

They go, Oh, you’re the guy with the hair. You know, I was gonna ask about the hair too, because he had the pink hat with Karcher, you know, was, did you go for that look or are you just the Cali kid? I, were you trying to create? No. Well, I, I, you know, honestly I was not trying to create an image. When I was playing on the national team, we got our haircut for free by this guy named Edward Edward Scissorhands.

And this guy was like he was like a big time salon guy. I mean, he traveled the country, the world and, and. Show people how to cut hair. And so he just did it for free. He was great guy. He, he cut my hair, I just said, go ahead and do whatever you want to do. And so he did this and I, I actually, you know, he, he was down in San Diego and when I, you know moved back up to Laguna and to play on the tour and stuff, I mean, I probably went down there for another five years.

To get my haircut and then he moved that killed. That was my buzzkill, but yeah. So I, I have to give it to Edward, I think, because this is a, an entrepreneurial podcast. I’m gonna ask you about a big, big one. And that’s the getting over disappointment. Like you talked about your two Olympics that you should’ve made the Olympics, it wasn’t for injury.

I want to ask you about how did you get over that, you know, to go grind again and win more matches? I mean, how long did it take you to get over? Are you, are you even still over it? Cause I’ve heard you on a different podcast. You still get a little fired up about that. And I have a secondary question when you do that.

Well, I, you know, I don’t want to say it started even before that, but you know, like when I was in, at in Laguna beach high school, we won CIF three years in a row when I was there. June my sophomore, junior, senior year, then I went to SC. We, we were in a rebuilding year, our, my first, my freshman year.

So we went from eighth to third. And then the next three years we lost in the finals, you know, three years in a row. So I was used to, I don’t want to say losing, but you know, those are the kinds of things. That’s kind of where it started, but I think that for me, it just gives me a little chip, you know on my shoulder to where I can, you know, I didn’t, I missed out and there’s nothing I can do.

You know, Randy gets injured, Carter gets injured. There’s nothing like it. It’s not that I can do. And, you know, I can just, I can just you know, channel that energy into training harder and trying to try and make up somehow. You know, and the only way to make up is winning, you know, you know, in that, in that situation or having more fun and, you know, getting more sponsors and that kind of thing.

I, I I’m similar in that mentality. What I always kind of say is. Is, you know, creating action, doing things. That’s how you’re gonna get it over something. Right. I’ll tell you we’re gonna move past something. And as opposed to just sitting and dwelling and then just be, Hey, it’s over. And I do that, not just for the large stuff, like when you’re just even just upset about something, like, go do something about it.

Even if it’s something small, it will make you get out of your own head. Right. So I think sometimes it’d be found as a what is it? The punches brutality or lose your tattoo work. They get, they’re just the sparring part of it is beat and beat and you can become, or you’re just okay with losing. And I feel like the great zone, even though they might lose a lot, you know, they get over that.

There’s a whole Michael Jordan, you know, how many misses winning game shot. It’s still the next, I feel like you sound like you have some of that. And then you pick up, pick up beating. I’ll get you next time. Well, you know, and I, I guess I have the, you know, the, the fortunate to, you know, opportunity to say I’ve done other things too, that a lot of people haven’t and, you know, you know, Oh, you lost three times in the finals in college.

Yeah. Did you even get there? You know, I mean, It, it, it was, it didn’t, it would, it sucked. I’m not gonna lie, but you know, there’s always, there’s always next year. There’s always something, you know, that’s even greater than that. You know, the next, I wanna talk about notoriety. So I have this theory. I even ran it by Darren that you’re kind of the fifth beetle.

The fifth. Yeah. Cause there’s

I guess Stefis and I, I can’t remember who I was gonna say. The fourth one is. Do you, do you view yourself sometimes as, as you’re just off that Mount Rushmore, like you you’re from the, from the, from the nineties group of winners, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s it’s an interesting thing. And I, and you know, I, like I asked Karcher to play after After we, I say, almost beat him in to get to the finals of the us championships in 90.

We were up 12 to eight and we ended up losing 15, 13, but I believed at the time I was better than Brett fro Hoff, who he was playing with. And so I called him, I called Kartra. I said, Hey, look, I think I can do better than him, you know? And, and he just said, well, I got to stick with, you know, Brent, you know, we’ve gone through a lot.

And so that’s fine, you know, so. Had we hooked up at that time, would I have a lot more W’s apps? Absolutely. You know, there’s no doubt about it, but yeah, I, I mean, I was kind of the odd man out because, you know, he had Sinjin and Randy had , you know, and then everybody else, and, you know, I’m a firm believer of, of keeping with the partner.

I’m not one that’s going to go from one to another, to another to another. I mean, a perfect example was when I first came back, I was training with ed Ratledge. Right? So for two months, and then we play in our first tournament, this is my first tournament back here. He had to have been young cause this is in 2005.

And so, you know, this is my first competitive tournament in five years. And I was terrible, not going to lie. And we lost and he dumped me and I was like, man, this is how it is today. Right. You don’t have any, you have no vision whatsoever. And so when he, I think it was a couple of years ago we were, we were both up in the Amazon booth together and I, I walk in the door.

He’s right there. I’m standing there. I’m like, cool. And he turns to me and he just says, Adam, I just got, I just got to tell you, he’s just. I did. I made the dumbest mistake of my life, you know, and I just go, dude, that was a hundred years ago. Let it go. I mean, you know, it didn’t, it, I’m not, it’s not phasing me of course, but you know, and he’s one, you know, I think that I, I believe we could have won tournaments when we played, but.

He couldn’t wait. So, and now that you’re coaching and do a lot of other stuff, what kind of recommendations do you give young players to pay or any players for that matter to pick their partner? Right. Who to who to pee, how to pair out. It’s interesting. Cause the majority of them, you know, I’m working with more, I mean, I am working with like the open player guys and stuff like that in girls, but they already had their partners kind of picked out and whatnot for the juniors.

You know, I just kind of say, Hey, just go and have some fun and, and, and see what, see what your partner can bring and what you can do for your partner. But, but it’s I’ll tell you, it’s a, it’s a different world out there. These, these kids are being taught, not the right. I don’t say it the right way. I don’t know if there is a right way, but in a way that I wasn’t brought up learning the game and well, to give you an example, I’m not, you know, I.

You see a ball being put over the net on one or two. Like, I don’t, I can’t even count on my, on two hands during a match. Right. Whereas I probably saw 10 over on one shots or over on two shots in 10 years that I played, you just didn’t do it. And when you did do it, it was usually picked up like I started working with the, these, these five girls last January.

Who are all going division one. And I see this in their game. They always try and hit it over on one, catch the other team off guard, which they will because the other team’s not taught well. And so I told this one girl, I said, Never tried that against me. Cause you know, and I get to play with these girls.

I don’t try it. It’s not going to, it’s not going to go down. And so the first time she did it, I saw it. I was standing right there, got a position, picked it up and just hammered it right at her. I didn’t hit her or anything, but a hammer. I said, I told you, I said, you can try. It’s just not going to go down because we’re, we were taught to watch the player and not the ball.

Whereas nowadays. Everybody watches the ball. And then by the time that the person hits it over, it’s too late. So there’s a lot of little nuances. One thing that I do want to ask you about is the game has changed actually, just like the rules of the game has changed over this course of your career.

And Amy now maybe tell us about, and we were talking about this briefly before we got started about, you know, some stories of the old, some old courts where the court was bigger. Right. And maybe. What was the difference between that court and then the smaller court. And then you had a story earlier about knowing antennas that was kind of fun.

Maybe share that. Well, when I first started playing on the tour there, we, we played on it, played on a big court, 30 by 30, which is like an indoor court and there were no antennas. So I was able to almost hit a jump, serve down a line almost around the pole. And into the back corner, you know, when it was really windy or something like that.

So those, those were kind of fun and that, that was tough. Cause that makes that, that makes that court huge. And so when they in tennis came in it was definitely a different game, but you know, the one thing that I noticed, the big, the biggest difference I noticed from the big, from the big court, the small court is that my defense personally, like if I was, if I was playing defense on the, on the big court and I was touching 50% of the balls.

When I came back in 2005 and maybe it didn’t have as big a blocker, I’m touching now 85% of the balls. So it’s a huge difference, a huge, different that difference that a lot of these guys don’t think about or don’t realize. Do you think that it lent itself to taller players? Oh no, no doubt about it. But there are some, I mean, Taylor Crabb, what is he?

Six one or two, you know? And so there, you’re always going to find those guys, you know, I mean, yeah. I mean, I, I believe I could have, if I had continued to play, I could have done well, you know, I don’t know if I could have done as well if I didn’t, if I had a, you know, a big you know, if I had a six, nine, if I had Dell Hauser I do.

All right. But you know, that those are the big difference. And also just the fact that we’ve played inside-out scoring. You know, that was the thing that I didn’t like was when we brought in the clock, which made the game about 45 to 50 minutes long. So that was, you know, no matter what but I played in some games that were 2119 and then back to back 25, 23, and those things like an hour and a half, two hours, and those are brutal.

So yeah, no it’s so those are the two big differences though. I want to talk a little bit about local Austin and Texas volleyball. Excuse me. We do not have the tall players because they play basketball and football in Texas. You know, if we can ever get the six, seven tightens and power for us to come play sand volleyball, it would change the whole Texas Bible scene.

Besides getting those athletes to come over and play volleyball with her snow high school Bible here. What do you think we need to do in Texas to catch up to Cal? I think you just answered it.

I mean, that is a big, that is a big thing. I know that some of the private schools up in Dallas have had indoor volleyball for quite some time. I remember doing some clinics up there. In 1991 and 92. So it’s been up there for a while, but there’s, you know, it’s, it’s slim to nothing here. Do you think the size is the main issue because we’re not a beach.

We are a beach state, but we don’t have a huge sand volleyball scene on our coast. Right. I mean, you know, Dell, Houser’s pretty big. And so as, so as Jay Gib, I mean, and then you get into everybody else right after that. So I think I, you know, Where, where Texas vault. And it goes for, you could say Florida too, or you can say any state, you know, you’re always gonna need a big guy.

The game has turned into a big guy and a small guy or two big guys, you know, I’m sure it can do, you know, I don’t know how given Dell Hauser would do together, but yeah. I mean, you know, cause well, because everybody thinks, Oh, well, those guys can’t play defense. Right. But if they can and they’re taller, if they can play defense, like, like I can.

They, they just have longer or they have more, they’re going to cover more court. You know, people are like, Oh yeah, kind of makes sense. I mean, I had a, I had this one girl on my junior team when she was 16, she had a shoulder problem and I said, just go play with libero. And she was six one. And everybody’s like, why are you having such a big girl on the back lane libero?

I’m like, well, she can pass and play defense. And she codes she’s going to cover more court than the little girl, or they’re like, Oh, yeah. Yeah. Okay. Yeah, that makes sense. I always see that a lot with basketball nowadays, you know, th th the point guard doesn’t need to be five, five, right. So, so what about for you, what’s your next five years?

10 years? What, what are you, what are you? I don’t know. I I’d like to, you know, there’s some, I’d like to find a place where I can call home. And, you know put my, put my outdoor beach program at for sure. Because I, I, this last year because of COVID was the first time that I actually did year-round beach volleyball.

And I hadn’t done it before, because I could, because of my indoor program that took up a lot of my time. And, and it seems to be making a little bit of a transition now. So you know, I’d like to hook up with somebody and open a facility or whatever, and, you know, run tournaments in a program that but yeah, there’s always coaching too.

You never know if there’s going to be a, an open spot somewhere who knows. But yeah, that’s kinda, that’s kinda where I am right now. What about you LJ next five years? What’s your five year outlook? Well, considering I’m the old dad with a seven month old learn how to be a parent. That’s the first one.

Yeah. Yeah. Just let them fall down a few times. I would like to say along the similar lines, I’d like to run a venue. I believe that when it comes to running events, it’s kind of where my talent lies and what I should have been doing. Probably my most of my career. And like I said earlier, continue to grow San wannabes, add cities.

Get more people involved more that’s maybe, maybe some branding and, and see where it goes, the mentors around the way or anybody that kind of helped through your path of your career or even before then? Well you know, I, I credit my high school coach a ton, even though he gives me grief on the, on Facebook.

But he, he gave me there’s a highlight reel right now from Manhattan, Manhattan, 93 Manhattan open. And he put on, you know, there’s a picture of, or no it’s from I’m sorry, it’s from 98 with Karcher and The picture on Facebook is me and him hugging. And on of course he says, does your wife know about this?

You know, and I’m kinda like whatever, but, but he, he really kind of molded me into the player that I, that I am you know, he got us, you know, thinking that, you know, he doesn’t want, you don’t talk smack under the net. I never did never have never will. I mean, now I do, just because I can, because I’m out, I watched your matches.

You might not have talked smack, but you had a scowl. Definite scowl that the other players saw it. You can look at it, but I’ve had people. Yeah. I mean, literally like yell right at me. Like, you know, stuff that I’ve never heard before. I’m kind of like, Okay. And then I just turn around and play and beat them and then shake their hands, look them in the eye and say, great match.

That, that to me is, is, you know, the thing, I mean, I, I work with Rafa who talks smack all the time. And so I can talk smack. I told him, I said, I wish you were playing back when I was playing. Or, you know, or I was playing, you know, at my peak right now. Cause you would have no chance, you know, you’re never going to get in my head, you know, kind of thing, but you know, yeah.

I can have fun with it now, even though everybody wants to beat up on me still, you know, you’ve played in Europe stuff. So what about once your favorite place maybe hidden gem just to travel to, or that you loved when you were there? Well, I mean, Italy was, was awesome. You know, I’m not gonna lie. We, we we lived, I lived in bologna for four months and people, like I said were really nice.

I did get to see the country when Carter and I were playing we were in Europe for three weeks and we made Ravenna our home base, which is where he played. So he was King Kartra over there. I mean, it was crazy. They were like, they just got down on their knees cars, car. I mean, we did some really fun things and it was, it was just great.

But Australia is awesome. You know, after I played in the Forman tournament, I got a couple of people, Hey, you want to come play in a tournament? You know, I’m like, okay. I played in one tournament now he’s asking me, but yeah. Fun. And I said, sure, I’ll come down and they go, well, you’re going to have to be down here, you know, two, two weeks.

So in a, in a hotel room, you know, because, so this is very racist or something. Yeah. Yeah. Just after it. And and I said, I go, Oh yeah, I’ll come down. I can hang out on the beach for two weeks. Right. And just, you know, no, you’re in your room. So but I had a blast when I played down there with Kent.

We won a few tournaments and travel all around Australia. So that, that’s a pretty awesome place when you were kind of at the peak or anytime during your career, is there any like workout routines that you had or daily routines that were interesting? That was kinda a little different or no, I mean, you know, I would The one thing I did do when I first started out before I had Spalding as a sponsor, I had one ball.

And so when there was nobody around, I would just go to the beach and hit jump serves, and I probably hit, I dunno, a hundred. So I’d hit one ball and I have to go chase it and go get up to there, hit the other one and go chase it, you know, but maybe that’s. The I have the jump serve that I did, but then once I got Spalding as a sponsor, I’m like, I need, I need 24 balls.

I said, you know, you can be more efficient. And, and, and I’m not saying this to say this, but I was the guy. Now, when you see people at the beach, they’ve got a bag of balls. And I was a guy before, before me, they, everybody bring like one ball each or something like that. And I, you know, I’m the guy that started with all the balls and.

You always get invited back if you have the bag of balls. Yeah. Yeah. Cause it’s easy. Don’t have to chase them right now, you know, kind of thing. So but yeah, other than that I mean, I got into, I got into lifting and I really liked my Olympic lifts. Not that that’s anything, you know, spectacular or anything.

I mean, people do them, but that, those were, those are always fun for me. I really enjoyed those. And those are, I would suggest doing, if you, you know as my weight coach told me, if you can only do one or two, you know, these are the one or two that you want to do, which is the, the cleans and the snatches.

So in a dead lifts, you know, if you could do those both, and we talked, you talked earlier about real estate being kind of a safe, would it saved you some money and you, I think I could be incorrect, but you probably had like over a million dollars in purse. Right. And you’re currently at six. Yeah. So any in a lot of athletes come in, they get a lot of money.

Any money recommendations, tips, and tricks that you had or wish you would have done? Well, I got lucky a couple of times, but I, but I had a money guy right off the bat, you know, so X amount of money went into savings and all that kind of stuff. And, you know college funds and all that. But I did get lucky with this one girl who came up to me and in Santa Cruz, I’m probably shouldn’t say this, but maybe I should say it was somewhere else.

Anyway, she goes, Hey, do you know Steve blue, who I played with in high school? And, and is he here? And I said, no, he’s not. And he’s are you going to socks? I said, yeah, a little bit. You guys, you might want to buy Cisco. Yeah, this was like in 92 or something like that. So, so I talked to my guy, I said, okay, let’s put, let’s put 7,500 in.

Right. And of course I didn’t touch that for years. And that thing made me six figures, you know, over, over time. So that, that was a fun thing. But I, I, you know, I mean, I’m not hardcore because I had someone else do it. But I would, I’d definitely make sure that if you’re making that kind of money, put it away and do something with it.

And, and even, you know, real estate is always, it’s always going to be there, you know, and if you can, you know, cause like on, on my first we were going to go in on a house with a guy named Larry mere who played on the tour. And he’s a real estate guy down in San Clemente, and we were going to go have these on this house and we were going to pay the rent or whatever.

And then I won the us championships and said, I don’t need you anymore. Larry, sorry. You know, no offense. And he goes, that’s fine. So, you know, I got lucky from that standpoint, but yeah, I, I definitely think that, you know, real estate, if you can do it. Yeah. And I’m a big fan of kind of how you’re saying basically have a system for the, the, the foundation of, of your finances.

Because if you don’t start that now you’ll never start it. Right. So the best time is now, you know, no matter what I think you might, we had something when it comes to investment advice, I need to do the listening. I do a lot of listening. I like reinvesting in yourself too, though. You know, that’s kind of getting back to what I said earlier.

You know, you re you know, a lot of people out here don’t like to spend money to get training. Right. They just don’t want to do it. And because they’re not at that same level at which I understand. But if you’re, if you’re wanting to get to that level, you have to reinvest in your future to get to that level is what I, what I believe.

So, I mean, you would do for business. I give you, and it’s a little it’s. I don’t want to say it’s scary because it’s the same thing. You know, if you’re starting your own business, it’s scary. You know, if you’re playing on the, you want to play on the tour and you gotta. Out some money. It’s scary, you know?

Cause you don’t know, but the money is, is I’ve always think it’s a fuel. So if you want to and, and, you know, make the fire bigger, right. You’re going to have to feed it a little. And that’s where you find the difference. I think a lot, you know, a lot of people have talent. Right. Like I give a perfect example is Karcher.

And I we both got dumped by our partners. Kent dumped him when he got injured and he S and then Kentz told Jose away from me, but, and then I got injured. And then when we came back towards the end of the year, we’re beating those guys. And, but those guys are physically and everything physically better than us mentally.

Maybe not because we beat them. You know? So I think that there’s, there’s definitely, you know, when you get the guy, that’s like, okay, I’m going to buy a $500 plane ticket to get there. Aaron, I need to, I need to make some money. That’s not going to help. If you just go there saying, Hey, I bet I paid 500 bucks.

I’m going to play. If I win some money. Great. If I don’t, I’m coming back and train it harder. No. And if someone, you know someone mentioned that because there, there was someone that was, that was saying, you know, I don’t know that, you know, I don’t know if working with a coach is going to help or whatever.

And, and I had a coach, Jim Mingus who’s, you know, he was one of the players that would want a ton of he’d won more opens than I did on the tour at the time. But I honestly didn’t learn anything from him. You know, I was kind of, he was kind of thrown at us because he was going to, you know, he had he was in a little bit of a financial situation and, you know, this thought it would reboot his, his career.

But he didn’t teach me anything. He was more of an arm, you know, but you know, like with a lot of the guys around here that I’m working with. You know, I believe I’ve got insight in the way that I can tell them how to do you know, what to do in what situations and how to go about it. And all the training methods, that’s a lot different, you know, he just was there.

He didn’t, you know, he was just kinda, I’m hitting balls at you. I’m not telling you, he didn’t tell me anything about. The strategy or anything, just putting reps in. Yeah. So Darren asked you earlier about fitness routines. What about your mantra when it comes to coaching? Is it reps or is it situational training?

Like what, what do you, how do you weigh those? It’s it’s funny because I I’m, I, I like to talk a lot And when I do lessons, let’s just say, I like to make sure these kids or adults, whoever I’m working with, understand what we’re trying to accomplish. So they might not get as many reps. Whereas the parents today feel, Oh, they need bread, bread, bread, bread, bread, bread, bread, bread, bread.

But if they’re sorry, but if they’re, if they’re not doing it correctly, it doesn’t matter. So I I’m, I am a big situational coach. You know, we, a lot of playing sure. We’ll do some reps on, you know, blocking reps or whatever kind of reps, but it’s not, not to the extent where you’re just doing so many of these is getting boring and you know, let’s not do this anymore and you’re not getting anything out of it.

So if a young team that’s on ABB two or came to you and said, will you travel with us? Or. Yeah. The main events

Loyola is, you know, California, and he’s able to do that with all those guys, which is great. You know, I, you know, I’m working with some guys out here that are, you know, trying to get on the tour, but it only, when it comes around here, you know, to play in the qualifiers and stuff like that. But I mean, if someone out in California said, Hey, Will you come out and train me?

I’d I’d probably say yes, you know, I don’t have a problem with it. As long as I can get it in talking to you Troy field and Eric Marineck y’all could use them. So take us back. I think the volleyball community would love some questions like this. And I know I’ve already asked about a couple old stories, but take us back to some of those big tournaments.

You know, maybe the feeling of how it was. I know any side stories, maybe not of the actual games, but you know, anything that was kind of interesting that the vulnerable world would love to hear well. Yeah. Well, and that’s, I think, I think a lot of it should be, be brought back. Perfect example is before I even started playing volleyball, we had the Laguna open and it was a huge stop on the tour.

It was a big time deal, small beach. But the, the fun thing about it was even when I was like 10 or 11 or 12, we’d go down to the beach at like four in the morning and set up our chairs, you know, around and get our in, you know, get our steak. There’s people would bring couches down there. They they’d bury kegs, you know, and it was just, it was just a big party.

And that’s, and that’s the difference between what even back then and the, you know, the seventies and eighties. And into the nineties. And now after the two thousands is almost, I want to say it’s gotten sterile, but it kind of has, because at the end of the day, you can say what you want. It was a big party.

We played a big party and we were, we were the talent that people watched when they’re buzzed and they’re watching other people doing whatever, you know, simple as that we had the bikini contest and everything like that. Is that not professional. Some people would look at that and say, it’s not professional, but it worked.

And like I said, we were the best in the world, you know? So if we can redo that again, I think we can have something, but I think that’s going to be, that’s going to be hard. Sounds like a good time. To me. This is something well, boxing has ring. Girls assessed everybody sport. Does it? Football is cheerleaders.

You said best in the world. And what was that feeling like when you won the world championship and you were the best in the world? Like, did you have a, Tiffany, did any, did you have like, Oh wow. I am like the top 1% of 1% of 1% of what I’m doing at this time. Not me personally. I just was like, it was a, you know, okay.

This is kind of cool.  You know, we’re, we’re the best in the world, but. You know, I always looked at, I looked at our sport as you know, below in any other sport, you know, football, baseball, basketball, whatever, you know, nobody cared about. You know, I mean, I won’t say nobody cared about us, but we didn’t have, we weren’t, we weren’t at that level.

So to me, it was like, you know, I’m just, I mean, I could walk down the street and have no one notice who I am because I’m a one that I was below average, average, every sport I’m a wannabe athlete, which is why we need to say I, one of these I think that that is a feeling that I’ve always like aspire to know what that’s like.

And it kind of amazes me that you were just in the moment, like it wasn’t this. Aha. I CA I climbed Mount Everest, you know, it was just, I’m just doing what I’m doing. I don’t know if that sounds arrogant. It’s just kinda, it’s just kinda how it was, you know, I won my first us championship and I go, we’re the best in the U S right now, but it’s not right now right now.

And we won that tournament, you know, and, and, and perfect example when I, when, when Ricky and I played the next year. You know, we didn’t have the same fire that we did. And so I made a change, you know, and, and, you know, for whatever reason. Right. So you just, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s up and down and you know, they, you know, what are you doing for me now?

What are you doing for me lately? You know? Yeah. We’re getting to the last couple of questions. LJ. Do you have anything that you want to ask before? I kind of. I want an, I want an ask a question and now we’re, where are all what you said? You, you know, the, the, the wannabes are across the country. Where, where are some of the other.

Big sections. So it’s really on the side of Texas it’s Santos to Austin, Houston, Dallas, Oklahoma city Corpus, but then you have the wannabes, which the one that is were around before us, and they’re not trying to be what I’m trying to be. With the VFW or the Elks lodge, you know, across the country, they are fun.

They want to have a party. They, they they’re the ones that dress up, you know, they, they dressed up like Wimbleton characters. And I like those guys. I’m friends with those guys, different mantras. They want to party and have fun at events. I want to help her. I want to grow the sport. So I just learned something there.

And I’ve had to explain that to a lot because people will tag the wannabes. It’ll tie the sandwiches. They’re like, well, the one of these are more of the Gulf coast. Volleyball party group. And we are trying to be something more established. Yes. We want to have fun. We throw the AVP after party when it comes to Austin, which hopefully it comes back to Austin, but I want to grow it into branches.

Like, you know, not, not just be this party group, although they, and they are fun. Yeah. I get on Amazon and they look fun. The blast tells you when you’re playing because you play a lot. And we talked about internal challenge, but like, what’s one of the favorite things that you do. Like whether it’s a serve or a spike or, you know, I dig like I’m really makes you happy.

It’s it’s all the highlight plays. Cause I’m obviously not going to win a lot. Obviously I do talk trash, so saying what you’re going to do and then doing it, like I’m going to serve you short again, or, you know, calling out Cuddy and hopefully you don’t put that cutting in the net, you know? And I love that.

I kind of, I come, my dad was from New York, New Jersey, so I have a trash talkers background and I enjoy when it actually comes together. When the trash talking and the point I have a friend, Chris, little, we all, you know, too. Who says that the S the third man is worth three to five points if it’s going right.

And the third man is my mouth. So I do enjoy like Rafa Casada. Who’s kind of like a local legend here. One of the best players ever come out of Austin. Talks trash and it works against a lot of players. And so, and then sometimes, and then some, it doesn’t somebody fire up and you’re like, Oh, but yeah, I always say when, when the trash talking and the play works, I enjoy that the most, I, I, you know, just to kind of get on that, but when I, I play my indoor kids six on one, and I’ve never lost.

You know, up to eighteens and I D I did finally lose when, when I was up 22 to 10 in a game to 25, someone hit a ball over my head. I turned in my hamstring went and they kind of said, Oh, can you not finish? I said, no, I’m done. They go, Oh, so you. So you forfeit and I go, well, can we play this some other time?

No. So they finally, cause they’d never beat me. They’d been there since they were 12 and they never beat me. But you know, girls are a lot different because you know, one on six is tough and especially at my age and. All I need to do is say a few little words to them and they just go, Whoa, right down a drain guys are a little bit different, but you’re going to find some guys that don’t like it either.

Well, this is such a unique sport. Like yes, compared to all my volleyball player, friends, I am not on their level, but I played my college friends one night, the challenge me, I played them one on five and I beat them 15, zero and 15 four. And we still talk about that because. It is a sport where you have to get touches to be any good.

I mean, I would compare it to tennis, two of the hardest sports to play. If you don’t practice and you don’t are tennis and volleyball, especially too, is that you can go play pickleball. You can go play family reunion mom, or, and, but no, if you want to play legitimate volleyball, you have to put time in.

And a lot of people come to play tournaments here. And that’s the advice I give them. They’re like, well, you know, this was like a level. I thought it was going to be, well, you, you have to put in some blood, sweat, tears, and embarrassing losses to even be able to play this sport. And I think that’s one of things that makes it special.

You can go play basketball and you can rebound. At least you can throw up some shots. It might not be good. Volleyball. If you don’t, if you haven’t played, you are not going to have fun. Yeah. I’ve seen a lot, a lot of athletic people look silly. What do you think the future of vulnerable for Austin? It looks like Fisher is an Austin is ridiculous.

Right now there are venues going up. There are new venues that were open in the last year, even during COVID. There are some new venues that are happening outside of town, inside of town, where I feel like we’re, we are the volleyball. Center of the universe for a non coastal city, you know? Yes, obviously LA and San Diego and Fort Lauderdale and Miami.

But some people say Chicago, there is not a bigger volleyball scene. And I would like to give some credit to San Juan wannabes for that. And they started, you know, 10 years ago when it was 20 people, we would go play tournaments and no one knew each other. Now, everybody, he knows each other and you pretty much have to advertise in the sand.

One of these, if you want to fill your event. And I w w I we’ve built a community. That’s just growing and investors are starting to see that. So hopefully we become a destination. We already have a lot of pros coming year round. We have a hall of Famer living in our city, you know, so it’s just a matter of getting the word out and continuing on the path we were on.

I feel like we are on an upward trajectory where maybe the AVP isn’t and California isn’t. We are, they’re definitely, they’re always, California is always going to be right here. Yeah. Yeah. And, you know, I talked a lot of the the college beach coaches and they, they say that besides California, Texas is the number two recruiting state filing and over, over Florida.

So I think that, you know, that is a big, that’s a big deal. I mean, I started before, when I first got here in 2006, 2007 was my first summer. I started my beach program and it was just to get, cause there was no college stuff and it was just to get the kids to do something different than what they’re doing.

You know, unfortunately these kids, I don’t care what sport they’re playing now. They play one sport for them from age eight until they’re done, especially if it’s a specialization is terrible. So I, you know, to play. If you’re going to play volleyball, at least give them a break from indoors and go play beach, you know, use the same skill and it’s going to make your indoor better and it’s going to be better on your body, you know, those kinds.

And, you know, it’s just, it’s just a break, but I would like to give a shout out to there’s some Austin entities Ozzie’s bar and grill with Danny Brinson owns it. You have project serve with Bobby Jones. You have Tim Oliver at Wooly’s. You have Ashley Ivy with AJV. You have, you have some, some stall works and that are really growing the game in Austin and they do deserve credit because they were doing it.

When there wasn’t much of a scene here, especially Aussies. I mean, if you’ve never been Ozzy’s downtown to courts, you know, it’s a, one of a kind and establishment probably in the country for volleyball. So I would like to at least let them know that, Hey, they provided something special in this town and there are other entities that are blowing up and popping up.

But. Those those, those, those several entities definitely grew the game here. And we’ll definitely miss all Ozzy’s because Atlanta has already been purchased, but they are close to downtown and that could be years away. So, yeah. So this is my last question. I end every podcast with this. We’ll start with you.

How would you like to be remembered? Oh boy, how would I like to be remembered? I, gosh I guess somebody that you know, gave a hundred percent effort you know, every, every point you know, I’m one of those guys that doesn’t look at, you know, look ahead and like, Oh, we need five points. Let’s get five points that, that bothers me more than anything.

Let’s get a pass. And then let’s set the ball and then let’s hit the ball. So somebody that just gives a a hundred percent effort and never, never wants to die and is always just trying, you know, I love, I love giving back to the game that gave me everything, you know, I’m just out here to help people.

You know, and if I can get the word out and, you know, I’m starting to work with some, some older adults, you know, that just wanna, you know, they might be B double B players. They just want to be a little bit better, you know, and they’re not going to win, you know, the, the, you know, the Austin open, you know, but they just want to be a little bit better and have a good time and, you know, tell them some stories.

Well, first of all, I, to say it was an honor to sit at the table with a legend and give yourself an Adam to give yourself the credit that you deserve. I want it to be remembered. Well, first of all, I would like not to have this for a long, long time, you know, but I’d like to remember just basically as a loyal friend that really just cared about having a good time and creating great events.

For that good time. I love being the facilitator. I’m not the ever the center of attention. And the part of the student is get the dance party started. Yes. But I’ll create the, but I’ll create the event. And I love being that even creator. So I hope people walk away with like, Hey, We loved going to LGS events and they were always fun.

There was good food and there was mostly a good vibe and that’s really what’s about go sleep. Always. I love it. Well,

I can be fun too, guys. It was a big pleasure to have you guys on the podcast. Really appreciate it. It was, it was, it was great to get in person and have you know, talk about volleyball. Thanks for having us. All right. Cheers.

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