Phil Dalhausser, the American beach volleyball legend who went from the sand recreation courts at UCF to four Olympics and a gold medal in 2008, announced his retirement from the sport following he and Nick Lucena’s loss in the Round of 16 of the Tokyo 2020 tournament.
The 6-9 Ormond Beach native graduate from Mainland High School in Daytona, but did not take up volleyball until his senior year. He came to UCF and played club volleyball as a student until he decided to make a run at the AVP. He would graduate from UCF in 2002.
Alongside partner Todd Rogers, Dalhausser developed into arguably America’s best beach volleyball player in the mid-late 2000s and 2010s, culminating in he and Rogers becoming the first American pair to win the Beach Volleyball World Championship in 2007.
They then turned their attention to the Beijing Olympics, where they went 6-1 and defeated Brazil to win the gold.
Dalhausser authored a legendary career on the beach volleyball world tour circuit, winning four FIVB Most Outstanding Player awards and seven USA Volleyball Male Beach Player of the Year awards.
Dalhausser and Rogers competed again in London in 2012, but lost in the Round of 16.
Phil then paired up with his original playing partner, Nick Lucena, and qualified for Rio 2016 before falling in the quarterfinals.
The pair won gold at the 2017 FIVB World Tour Finals, and that gave them the impetus to chase Olympic gold once more at Tokyo in 2020.
Despite the delay of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics by one year, Dalhausser and Lucena again pushed for qualification and made one last run at Olympic gold this summer. But on Saturday, in the Round fo 16, they fell to the world’s #1-ranked team, Cherif Samba and Ahmed Tijan from Qatar.
Shortly thereafter, the 41-year-old Dalhausser announced his retirement.
He told ESPN afterwards:
“I’ve missed like a year and a half of my kids’ life. That’s time I’ll never get back. I love the sport and everything. It’s given so much to me, but I think it’s time to move on, try to spend more time with my family.”
Dalhausser joined our podcast last year, just prior to COVID, to discuss his career and his experiences at UCF (Go to the one-hour mark for the interview):
Now an American volleyball legend, he runs the Phil Dalhausser Beach Volleyball Academy at Boxi Park in Lake Nona, and said he hopes to turn coaching into a lucrative post-playing career.
For now, though, he can and should enjoy his moment in the sun as one of the greatest ever to take to the sand.