Three-time Pepperdine All-American, NCAA champion, and Olympic gold medalist Troy Tanner will take over the reins of the Waves’ women’s volleyball team. Tanner succeeds 31-year head coach Nina Matthies and will usher the Waves into their 40th season as a program in 2014.
"I am extremely honored, humbled, and grateful for the opportunity to return to Pepperdine," said Tanner. "I would like to thank Dr. Potts for his faith in me and the other administrators I worked with during the interview process. I am really looking forward to getting started."
"We are thrilled to welcome Troy Tanner back to Malibu," Potts commented. "He has enjoyed great success at virtually every level of volleyball: NCAA Championships as a player and coach, Olympic Gold medals as a player and coach, international experience, beach experience, and the creation and development of one of the most successful club volleyball programs in the nation.
"Troy fits Pepperdine so well in his commitment to our Christian mission, to the academic well-being of our student-athletes and to the pursuit of championships," continued Potts. "I am confident that Troy will continue to build on the great success our women's volleyball program experienced under the leadership and guidance of Nina Matthies."
Tanner is just the fourth coach in program history, following Patti Bright (1975-78), Gary Sato (1979-82), and Matthies (1983-2013).
"I would also like to offer my congratulations to Nina (on her semi-retirement). She has left a wonderful legacy at Pepperdine and I look forward to working with her as she continues to lead the sand volleyball team," Tanner stated.
Tanner's success as both a player and a coach spans from the club level all the way to the Olympic stage. He won two NCAA titles while at Pepperdine, first with the fabled "Malibu Roofing Company" in 1985 and again in 1986. As a coach, he was an assistant for the BYU men's team when the Cougars won NCAA championships in 1999 and 2001.
The 2011 Pepperdine Athletics Hall of Fame inductee has also enjoyed tremendous success at the Olympics. He won a gold medal as an indoor player at the 1988 Seoul Games on a USA team coached by current Pepperdine men's volleyball coach Marv Dunphy. He then coached Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings to beach volleyball gold in 2008 in Beijing.
Tanner first came to Malibu from Los Altos (Calif.) High School and excelled for the Waves between 1983 and 1987 as an outside hitter and a setter. After a runner-up finish at the NCAA Championships in his freshman year of 1983, Tanner redshirted the 1984 season. He returned to the court the next season and helped the Waves to consecutive NCAA titles in 1985 and 1986, beating USC both years. During his four seasons, Pepperdine posted a record of 90-22 (.804) and won 20-plus matches each season.
Tanner was selected to the All-American second team as a freshman and made the first team as both a junior and a senior. He also made two appearances on the All-NCAA Tournament team and in 1986, he was the MVP of the NCAA West Regional. Over his final two seasons, Tanner averaged 4.07 kills, 1.72 digs, and 1.14 blocks while notching a .342 hitting percentage.
"Returning to Pepperdine has always been my goal," Tanner continued. "It really is a special place."
His career with USA Volleyball began early, as he traveled to Japan in 1985 as part of the United States' World University Games team, and also played for the U.S. at the initial 1986 Goodwill Games held in Moscow.
Tanner continued his career with the U.S. National Team following his graduation from Pepperdine and was one of four Waves on the gold-medal winning squad at the 1988 Olympics. In 1989, he was voted "Best Passer" at the World Cup.
In addition to spending time playing indoor volleyball professionally in Italy, Japan, and Croatia, Tanner spent most of the 1990s on the beach as part of the AVP Tour. He was named Rookie of the Year in 1992 and, in time, he would also earn the league's Most Improved Player, Best Defensive Player, and Ron Hagen Award.
While earning a master's degree in mass communications at Brigham Young, Tanner got his start in coaching as an assistant with the Cougars' men's squad. He was on the staff for six seasons (1997-2002). In 2006 he was an assistant for the U.S. volleyball squad at the World Championships. He served as coach for the beach team of May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings in 2007 and 2008 and helped the duo to their second straight gold medal at the Beijing Olympics. During his time with the duo, the team's international record was 76-1.
In 2005, Tanner founded Tstreet Volleyball Club in Irvine, Calif. Since then, Tstreet has increased its membership and number of teams, while simultaneously improving overall Southern California Volleyball Association and national rankings. The club routinely turns out players who go on to play at the NCAA Division I level.
In 2013 Tstreet's 18-1 and 15-1 squads both finished #1 in the final SCVA rankings while placing in the top-five nationally by PrepVolleyball.com.
Tanner graduated from Pepperdine in 1992 with a degree in public relations. He and his wife Desiree have three children: Carson, Riley, and Bailey.
For more information, visit the Pepperdine Athletics website.