USA assistant coach Marvin Dunphy in pre-match warm-ups.
Modena, Italy, October 2, 2014 – The United States may have one of the most unique coaching staffs sitting on the bench at the 2014 FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship Italy 2014, and it has produced an undefeated record through six matches.
The Americans have a head coach who won three Olympic Games gold medals as a player (two indoors and one beach) as well as a coach who led the USA Men to the Olympic Games gold medal in 1988. Karch Kiraly is a legendary figure from his playing days for the USA, and now has turned his attention to serving as head coach of the USA women’s team. For this 2014 FIVB Women’s World Championship, he has a great mentor in Marv Dunphy sitting next to him on the bench as one of his assistant coaches giving tremendous guidance to himself and the American players.
Dunphy served as the head coach of the USA Men, including Kiraly, which captured the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games gold medal. Dunphy has taken a seat on the women’s bench for this World Championship, a spot normally reserved for assistant coach Tom Black who is back in the United States guiding his college team Loyola Marymount University into the top 25 of the NCAA ranking.
“It is huge to have Marv on the bench for us,” Kiraly said. “Marv is such a calm and poised presence. When he says something, everybody listens. He has been in so many Olympics. I certainly listen, I can learn from him a lot. We are fortunate to have him. Normally we would have Tom Black, but he is back with his Loyola Marymount University team, which now is ranked in the top 25 rankings (NCAA college).”
Dunphy has had a long, successful coaching tenure with the U.S. National Teams. The American squad maintained a No. 1 world ranking in the mid-1980s and compiled an impressive overall record of 197-31 (.864) during his time as head coach. Additionally, the team won every major international tournament: the 1985 FIVB World Cup, the 1986 FIVB World Championship, the 1987 Pan American Games and, most importantly, the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea. In 1987, the FIVB honored Dunphy as its Coach of the Year and was a finalist for the FIVB’s Greatest Coach of the Century Award.
Since then, he has been an assistant coach for the USA Men's Team at the 2000 Olympics and a consultant coach at the 1996, 2004 and 2008 Olympics. In 2012, Dunphy served as a consultant coach in London for the silver medal winning women's squad.
“I think when it comes to methods and learning and training, all those are non-gender and non-age related,” Dunphy said in his experience now coaching the USA women at the World Championship. “The real difference is not gender, but rather inferior or superior athletes. These are all elite athletes competing at the World Championship and I am honored to be a part of it.”
While serving as head men’s coach at Pepperdine University for the past 32 years, Dunphy has led his squad to four NCAA university titles and coached 10 players who have gone on to compete in the Olympic Games.
“It has been in my plans since I took over to have Marv involved in this program in some capacity, right on through, if we are able to quality, right on through Rio,” Kiraly said. “He was with us in London, we would love to have him with us for whatever parts he can do, for another Olympic cycle. He is making an impact.”
Dunphy has the utmost respect for his former player, now turned coaching colleague.
“Karch is wired differently,” Dunphy said. “His intentness, attention to detail and his respect for this sport in the USA and the world is unmatched. With our relationship, I have tremendous respect him and our friendship.”
Dunphy, a 1994 inductee into the International Volleyball Hall of Fame, is a person who can bring out the best in an athlete, according to Kiraly.
“He is a great connector with people,” Kiraly said. “He has a presence about him that makes you feel good around him. He is helping our setters run the game plan, and doing a nice job working in timeouts with Alisha Glass and Courtney Thompson.”
USA setter Alisha Glass believes Dunphy has provided a unique perspective for her during this World Championship.
“Marv is a wealth of knowledge,” Glass said. “He sees the game from a perspective that makes so much sense. You may not have seen it before, but as soon as he points something out to you, you realize how right he is. And you think, ‘How did I not realize that before?’ He's seen so many matches, coached so many great players and really puts in the time to understand player psychology and team dynamics.”
For Glass, she soaks up all she can from Dunphy.
“He's got tips, advice and stories for days,” Glass said. “I just try to stand next to him, act like a sponge and soak it all up. He will help our team be better technically and emotionally, and he'll continue to always win the first point of any short court game.”