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Meet the Olympians: Marv Dunphy

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Marv Dunphy

While Marv Dunphy (’74) is the longtime, beloved head coach of the Waves men’s volleyball team, it is the U.S. women’s team that will reap the benefits of his award-winning leadership this summer as he takes a turn as consultant coach to the team ranked No. 1 in the world by the International Volleyball Federation. He and head coach Hugh McCutcheon led the men’s team to Gold in 2008—the team’s third Gold Medal so far—and were asked to parlay their golden touch to the women’s team this year.

“We have developed a great friendship over the years. I’ll be scouting the opposition and seeing ahead of the Olympics what we need to do, tactically, to defeat them. During the matches themselves, I’ll be on a headset with Hugh on the end line, supplying real-time information of what I see. I’m basically a glorified spy,” Dunphy jokes.

The duo makes a formidable coaching team, even through the most difficult of circumstances. During the 2008 games, tragedy struck when McCutcheon’s wife and in-laws were attacked on a sightseeing stroll around Beijing. His father-in-law did not survive the knife attack, his mother-in-law was critically injured, and McCutcheon missed a few games to support his wife through the tragedy. Nonetheless, the team won Gold, thanks to both Dunphy’s leadership through that period and the hard work and determination of the team and coaches to succeed amid tragedy.

Dunphy was inducted to the American Volleyball Coaches Association’s Hall of Fame in 2009, and in 2011 he was awarded the U.S. Olympic Achievement Award for his role in helping the 2008 team to Gold, a team that included prominent Pepperdine alumnus Sean Rooney (’05). In fact, since assuming his role as head coach of the Waves men’s volleyball in 1977, 10 of his Pepperdine proteges have gone on to represent the U.S. National Team in the Olympics.

With the women’s team ranked No. 1 this year, Dunphy says he is energized by the “expectation for this team to do really well.” He was similarly energized in 1988 when he coached the U.S. Men’s Volleyball National Team. They were heavily favored to win Gold.

“And we did,” he remembers. “It reminds me of Pepperdine—people expect us to be good and it’s an honor to be held to that standard. We don’t have a ‘Super Bowl’ of volleyball, instead we have the Olympic games, so it’s an absolute honor to represent our country.”