Head Coach Women’s Beach Volleyball
General Meeting & Luncheon
Coach Blanton is an Olympic gold medalist, in his third season as head coach of the USC women’s beach volleyball team. He led the team to a second National Championship.
Honoring Past ACC Chairs & Current Chair, and Current ACC Presidents
Dain Blanton, an Olympic gold-medalist, is in his third season (2021-22) as head coach of the USC beach volleyball program.
In his first full season, he led the Women of Troy to the 2021 NCAA Championship and a runner-up finish for the Pac-12 title. The Trojans went 30-4 overall and produced winning streaks of 13 and 12 matches during the season. Under Blanton, four Trojans were named AVCA All-Americans including the Pac-12’s Pair of the Year of Tina Graudina and Megan Kraft. Individually, Graudina was honored as the Pac-12 Player of the Year and Kraft was chosen as the league’s Freshman of the Year. Additionally, Julia Scoles and Sammy Slater were each honored as AVCA All-Americans.
Previously, Blanton was the volunteer assistant coach at USC for four seasons (2015-18) as the Women of Troy won the 2015 AVCA national crown and the 2016 and 2017 NCAA championships. USC also captured back-to-back (2016-17) Pac-12 titles. He replaced two-time National Coach of the Year Anna Collier, who retired from collegiate coaching in June 2019 after serving as the only previous head coach in the program’s eight-year history.
In 2019, Blanton’s team finished 6-5 after play was halted due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic. Each of the five losses were by 3-2 decisions and to opponents ranked in the nation’s top 20.
Before he became head coach, Blanton helped USC produce eight AVCA All-Americans and had a hand in coaching USC’s top pair of Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes to the 2015 AVCA Pairs National Championship and the 2017 USAV Collegiate National Pairs Championship. The duo also won back-to-back Pac-12 pairs titles in 2016 and 2017.
During the 2019 season, Blanton served as a color analyst and sideline reporter for ESPN, covering the NCAA beach championship in Gulf Shores, Ala.; and the Olympic Channel, covering the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championship.
In the summer of 2021, Blanton will serve as a sideline reporter for NBC’s coverage of the beach volleyball events at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
Blanton has had a distinguished career as a sports broadcaster, covering sports such as NBA basketball and Major League Baseball, college basketball, football, and beach volleyball for networks including ESPN, NBC, ABC, FOX Sports Net, Universal Sports Network, Pac-12 Networks, Olympic Channel and Amazon Prime. He covered beach volleyball for NBC at the 2016 Olympics.
Blanton was the United States’ first two-time male beach volleyball Olympian. He and partner Eric Fonoimoana (USC’s volunteer assistant coach in 2019) captured the gold medal at the 2000 Sydney Games despite being the ninth seed. He then partnered with current USC men’s volleyball head coach Jeff Nygaard at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.
Blanton is among just a handful of beach volleyball players to have won an NCAA title in college, an Olympic gold medal, and multiple professional crowns. He was a 1994 AVCA All-American honorable mention choice at Pepperdine where he lettered for four years (1991-94) and helped the Waves win the 1992 NCAA indoor title as a sophomore. As a pro, Blanton won 11 beach tournaments, including nine AVP championships (four with Nygaard) and two FIVB titles, and collected more than $725,000 in winnings.
In 2003, Blanton and Nygaard were the AVP Team of the Year and Blanton was the AVP’s Best Offensive Player. He became the first male African-American to win a major beach volleyball event when he claimed the 1997 AVP Hermosa Grand Slam. He and Kent Steffes won a bronze medal at the 1997 Beach Volleyball World Championships.
Blanton was the 1990 Orange County Boys Volleyball Player of the Year at Laguna Beach (Calif.) High, where he was also an All-State basketball player.
Blanton has spent time mentoring students and as a motivational speaker through his non-profit organization Getting to Gold. He also founded a charity in 1997 called Dain’s Day at the Beach, which provides urban youth with the opportunity to participate in beach volleyball.
Blanton graduated with a bachelor’s degree in public relations from Pepperdine in 1994 and also holds a teaching credential in physical education. He was born on Nov. 28, 1971, and resides in Santa Monica, Calif., with Maeve McCaffrey and their son Caid Quentin.