Dain Blanton, Aaron Boss, Ian Clark and Eric Fonoimoana
Dain Blanton‘s greatest accomplishments include winning the Olympic Gold medal for the USA at the Sydney Olympics in 2000 alongside former partner Eric Fonoimoana. He also is the first male African-American in history to win a major beach volleyball event, the AVP Hermosa Grand Slam in 1997.
In 2004 Blanton once again made history by earning a spot in the Athens Olympics and becoming the first two-time U.S. male Beach Volleyball Olympian. In his beach career he has played with six other U.S. beach Olympians.
He finished the 2005 season with the fifth most aces (57) and was ninth in digs (565) on the Tour while playing with Olympian Kevin Wong. Blanton teamed with Jeff Nygaard for the 2004 season. The duo came home six days after the Olympics and won the famed AVP Nissan Series Chicago Open for the second year in a row. In 2003, the duo captured three AVP titles in San Diego, Chicago and Las Vegas and was named AVP Team of the Year.
Blanton has been a finalist on the hit show “The Bachelor”, was named to US Weekly’s “Hottest Olympians” list in 2004, and was also Outside Magazines “Fittest Athlete.”
In 1997, Blanton created “Dain’s Day at the Beach,” which was created to provide children with the opportunity to participate in the non-mainstream sport of beach volleyball. The charity has formed relationships with various youth organizations around the country.
Blanton grew up in Laguna Beach and was a two-sport athlete at Laguna Beach High School, turning down several college basketball scholarships. He began playing volleyball at age 11 because his older brother Kurt played. Dain was Orange County’s Player of the Year and was named to Volleyball Monthly’s “Fab 50” list as one of the nations top recruits. He also earned All-American honors at the Junior Olympics.
He graduated from Pepperdine University with a degree in Public Relations, earned his teaching credentials. The Waves won a National Championship in 1992 (his sophomore season) while he competed on the school’s volleyball team.
Blanton was born in Laguna Beach and currently resides in Santa Monica, California.
Aaron Boss begins his 11th season in 2006 after having knee surgury in the middle of the 2005 season. Boss was one of eight players to earn tour exemption for the 1996 season via the 1995 Wilson Qualifying Series. A 1994 graduate of San Diego State, Boss currently sells residential Real Estate in San Clemente, CA with Distincitive Coast Properties.
Boss started playing beach volleyball in 1985 before starting his indoor career in 1987.
Boss’ best career finish was winning the 2001 AVP Virginia Beach Open with Colin Smith.
Boss’ best finishes in 2005, 3rd with Paul Baxter and 5th with Brian Lewis.
Favorite Movie: Fletch, Happy Gilmore
Favorite Bands: Bob Marley & the Wailers, Jack Johnson, G. Love & the Special Sauce, Donovon Frankenreiter
Favorite Show: South Park, That 70’s Show
Role Model: Joel Tudor, Jack Johnson
Favorite Meal: Pizza with Ranch
If you weren’t playing professional volleyball, what would you be doing? Selling Real Estate in San Clemente
Ian Clark started playing volleyball at 18 and was a standout college player at both Santa Barbara City College and Pepperdine where he graduated in 1994 with a Business Administration degree. He was the 1990 City of Santa Barbara Athlete of the Year, and was first-team all-conference in 1989 and 1990. Clark was a middle blocker on Pepperdine’s National Championship team in 1992. In 1993, he won a gold medal at the U.S. Olympic Festival. Clark has played professionally in Indonesia. Clark earned over $10,400 in 2001 with four top seven finishes in six domestic starts. His best domestic finishes are seconds in 2000 with Bill Bouillianne at Deerfield Beach, Fla., and in 2001 with Adam Jewell in Virginia Beach, Va. Clark and Boullianne won the 1999 Mexican Open for the first FIVB title for a United States team since the 1996 season.
Personal: Is an only child who lists Charles Barkley as his role model. His favorite movie is Caddyshack and enjoys watching anything on Comedy Central. Stevie Ray Vaughn is his favorite band and his favorite meal is a Bud Light. Clark was a child actor and appeared in an episode of “CHIPS.” If he weren’t playing volleyball he would be surfing.
Eric “The Body” Fonoimoana struck Olympic Gold at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney and has been a dominant and consistent force on the AVP Tour since winning his first event in 1994. He won at least one tournament for seven straight years between 1998 and 2004, claiming titles with five different partners in addition to winning an individual event.
2002 proved to be Fonoimoana’s year to shine – he reached the finals six times and won four titles with former partner Dax Holdren and was also named AVP’s Most Valuable Player.
In 2005 Fonoimoana reached the top 10 in terms of all-time tournaments played, and is rapidly approaching the $1 million mark in career earnings.
A true community activist, Fonoimoana has dedicated much of his winnings and time off the beach to his foundation “Dig for Kids” which helps kids in inner cities excel in school and volleyball.
Fonoimoana grew up in Manhattan Beach, California as the youngest of three brothers, Kirk, Scott and Toa and two sisters, Debbie and Lelei. Lelei was a swimmer in the 1976 Olympics in Montreal. Eric attended Mira Costa High School, the same school his parents attended, where he started his volleyball career. The volleyball team there now hands out an annual Eric Fonoimoana Commitment Award. Fonoimoana continued to play at UC-Santa Barbara where he was named MVP his senior year and graduated with a degree in Sociology.
His cousins, Al and Nick Hannemann, also played on the AVP Tour. Fonoimoana currently resides in Hermosa Beach, California with his wife Eliza.
Favorite Movie: CaddyShack
Favorite Band: Busta Rhymes
Favorite Show: CSI
Role Model: Michael Jordan
Sponsors: Nautica, Wilson, Oakley, Nutrition Express
Favorite Meal: Mexican
If you weren’t playing professional volleyball, what would you be doing? Real Estate