Sports Career Spotlight

We've been featuring executives from the sports industry since 2001. Naturally, some of these executives have moved onward and upward in their sports careers. We believe these profiles remain relevant and valuable because they highlight the hard work, dedication, brilliant successes, and lessons learned in a variety of career paths through the sports industry.

Mike Dodd

Mike Dodd, Commissioner



AVP commissioner knows his way around the sand

Mike Dodd has been an ace in the sport of volleyball as a player, coach, broadcaster and ambassador. Now, in just two months since his appointment as AVP commissioner, the tour has been revamped with a new TV deal with ESPN2/ABC, a new title sponsor in Nivea and a handful of new tour stops.

Age: 53
New title: AVP commissioner
Previous title: USA Volleyball coach for Jake Gibb and Sean Rosenthal in 2008 Beijing Summer Games
First job: A health food store called the Sunshine Inn. (“I arrived at 4 a.m. and made juice.”)
College education: B.S. in physical education, San Diego State University (1980)
Resides: Manhattan Beach, Calif.
Grew up: Manhattan Beach
Favorite vacation spot: Rio de Janeiro
Last book read: “The Talent Code: Greatness Isn’t Born. It’s Grown. Here’s How,” by Daniel Coyle
Last movie seen: “Avatar”
Favorite movie: “Avatar”
Favorite musician/band: The Eagles

What was the financial investment needed to rebrand the AVP logo from yellow to blue with the new title sponsor, Nivea?
It actually occurred rather quickly. We made the deal three weeks before our first event in Fort Lauderdale. By the time the trucks rolled in and the tents and banners were set up, we were a sea of blue.

At the end of this season, are there benchmarks you have set that will meet your expectations with the recent move to ESPN2/ABC?
Just the fact that we are with ESPN and ABC increases our credibility. We are trying to increase our overall footprint, and ESPN and ABC are great places to start. A few highlights on “SportsCenter” will add credibility to our game, and hopefully the relationship with ESPN will lead to that.

The tour has 12 dates this year, down from 16 last year. What is the ideal number of events you would like to have per season?
An ideal number would be closer to 16. There are a number of different factors that affect our calendar, including Olympic qualification. A number of our players play in international events, so we have to coordinate our schedule aware of the international events.

What is the one element you would like to see changed about the sports industry?
I played for 20 years and at a time when it was very much about the game and less about all the other trimmings. … For me it is always refreshing when I see athletes that are truly focused on the game and their communities and doing work in that effect. I like to see old-school players, players getting back to what really matters and doing a good job at their profession, which is playing the game.

This career spotlight is courtesy of the SportsBusiness Journal. CLICK HERE to visit their official website.

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