Ian's World                                 Life's an adventure.
                                                                    Get on board.

                                            Avp.jpg  earth3.gif Fivb.jpg
by Ian Clark with Don Patterson                                                                                    Courtesy of Volleyball Magazine
Portraits by Aaron Chang                                                                                               *All rights reserved

        First,let me clear this up. I'm really not the crazy guy you might think. I can only guess that a lot of people look at the lebret on my chin and my pierced tongue and tattoos and get a little intimidated,maybe think I'm a wildman. The funny thing is,I was considered nerdy and quiet when I joined the AVP tour in 1995. Now my image seems to be just the opposite.

     I had my tongue pierced a couple of years ago,then I got the lebret a few months
later. My motivation was simple. Individuality. In beach volleyball, you hear a lot of
criticism that players are too similar,too generic. I have to agree. I don't think there
are enough personalities. In basketball,you have so many. Rodman. Alonzo Mourning.
Kobe Bryant. It's important to have that. But it's even more important for me to
express myself how I want,and I like this look.

     My parents,they're fine with it. Sure,the first time I came home with my jewelry,
there were a few comments like, "What's that coming out of your lip?" After that,
it was back to normal. Even my grandparents were totally cool about it.

      The three questions I hear most are, "Did it hurt? How do I kiss girls? Does it go
all the way through?" For what it's worth,here are the answers: It did hurt when I
first had it done,but it healed quickly. It folds down when I kiss a girl. And yes,it goes
all the way through. There is a metal plate on the inside of my mouth holding it in.

      Sometimes,when I walk through airports,people laugh,and I've heard "Oh my god"
behind my back a few times. But I enjoy getting those reactions.

      The one thing I try not to be is judgemental about anybody. I'll give anyone a chance,and I think that's important. People can judge me by the way I look,but I'll
just be myself. Pretty soon, I think people will come to realize that I'm actually a
nice guy,or at least I hope so. This is just a look. It doesn't mean I'm crazy.

       I've had a lot of players come up and say, "Well,you've got your look for TV,but
I don't know if it's going to work." But that's not my plan. Like I said,this is just me.
It's an expression of myself,and if people are going to pick up an interest in volleyball
because of it,that's great. I think it can only help.

       One problem with beach volleyball is that people are starting to think of it as an
older sport. There's some truth to that,I think. Look at Karch. He's still winning,and
he's 38. I'm only 28,and I figure maybe I can get some younger kids to look at the
sport and say, "Wait a minute. This is cool." I mean look at what Andre Agassi did
for tennis.

        Most guys on tour have been playing since they were kids. That's one thing.
I wish I'd had that extra seven or eight years. Guys who have been playing forever,
it's got to come pretty naturally to them.

        I grew up in Boulder,Colorado,and I played a little bit of everything: basketball,
soccer,football,tennis,golf. I was decent at all of them,but I was never great. I didn't
stick with them that long,either. I played tennis for a year and a half and golf really
steadily for one summer.

        The summer of 1987,a friend called and told me to come down to the Boulder
Rec Center and check out an AVP tournament. It was only about half a mile from
my house,so I went. Sinjin and Randy and Dodd and Hov were the hot teams at the

         When I saw these guys,it looked like they were having the time of their lives.
It was like a big party. I remember thinking,wouldn't that be a great way to make
a living?

         In an age when pro wrestling is a multi-million dollar industry,volleyball has a
pure and natural appeal. Nobody gets hurt. Nobody dies. Everyone is just out to have
fun. Personally,I don't see anything good coming out of wrestling. You want to talk
about promoting violence. Hitting guys over the head with chairs? It's not real,but I
don't think it's good for kids to see.

          With the internet and all,it seems like kids today are forced to grow up by the
time they're eight or nine,and there are so many things to do. It wasn't like that when
I was young. When I started playing volleyball,there wasn't even an organized team
in Boulder. Me and a friend and a couple of other guys had to join a club in Denver.
We'd drive an hour each way every Wednesday night,practice,then play tournaments
on weekends.

          I was pretty much obsessed with volleyball for a while. I remember I had this
job bussing tables at a resturant. One time,there was a conflict with the schedule.
I'd asked for the weekend off to play a tournament in Aspen,and the manager didn't
want to give it to me. I quit and played anyway.

          After I graduated from high school,I packed up my car and drove to California.
I ended up playing for a guy named Rick Olmstead at Santa Barbara City College,
and he worked our butts off. We'd jog,then run stadium stairs,then do pushups. He
was ruthless. But I have to say,he taught me discipline and got me in some of the best
shape of my life.

          Sometimes after practice,a few of the guys would sneak down to East Beach
to get in some games. Rick didn't want us doing that,and he had spies that reported
back to him. If he learned we were there,he'd bury us the next day in practice. We'd
be doing stadium runs,and he'd yell something like: "So Clark,how was your day at
the beach yesterday? You guys have some good games? Then everybody would be
pissed off  because he'd make the whole team do sprints,even if only a few guys had

           To me,there's nothing wrong with indoor guys playing beach. It makes you stronger,and since there are two players on the court instead of six,it really helps your quickness. It also helps you move across the court and gives you a better idea of the court size. And most of all,it forces you to excel at all facets of the game.

           I played a second year at Santa Barbara under Jay Hanseth,who was a beach
guy and had no problems with us playing doubles. After that season,I had to make a big decision. UC Santa Barbara offered me a scholarship,but Marv Dunphy wanted
me to play at Pepperdine. Problem was,I'd have to pay about $20,000 a year if I chose

           Both places have great business schools. When it came down to it,my parents
asked me which was better for my volleyball career,and I told them dead honest truth:
Pepperdine. They said, "Okay,go to Pepperdine,"and they paid my way. It worked out great. I ended up starting on the 1992 NCAA championship team,and look where I am
now. I give my parents a lot of credit. They've always supported me. Both of them are pretty career minded. My dad is a physicist at the University of Colorado,and my mom
opened and owned her own furniture store. It would have been easy for them to criticize what I'm doing,tell me I've got to do something else. But they said: "You want
to play beach volleyball,that's great. Give it your best shot."

            I've seen guys who are 6-6 and can jump 40 inches on the beach and can't win a game to save their lives. One thing I have learned is that volleyball is more skill-oriented than just physical. You've got to be able to do the perfect thing over and over and over. How many great physical athletes are there in the NBA? And how many Michael Jordans are there? It's the same thing. Jordan's got the physical skill,
but his technique is perfect as well. I think that's why you see 38-year old guys like
Karch still winning tournaments. Another thing is experience. That's a huge part of this game. Just learning what's the right shot at the right time when your in trouble.
Or using the right serve. Little stuff,like making sure you serve a guy if you just got a point off him. Those things add up to so much in any given game. Every once in a while
you'll see a team beat a top seed because they put it all together for one game. But then a lot of times,you'll see that team get crushed in its next game. That's where
consistency and technique come in.
             The truth is, I'm still working on getting to that point. Before I won with Bill
Boullianne in Acapulco in April,one of the knocks on me was that I'd never been in a final. I'd taken fifths,fourths,thirds but that was it. Now that I've won,I've got more
confidence that I can do it again. But Bill and I have to steady out and play well every tournament.

              Having a regular partner is important. Earlier in my career,I switched arround
alot,but you can only do that for so long if you want to be sucessful. Look at Todd
Rogers and Dax Holdren. They've been playing together for 10 years,and they're a great team. They know each other's nuances,and that makes all the difference in the
world. It may earn you a couple of points a game,and that's a huge advantage. Before
I played with Bill,I played with Dave Swatik,Troy Tanner,Canyon Ceman and a lot of other guys. But I never really found a consistent partner. I talked to Beef before last season,and we started playing together and it worked out well. He's a good defensive player,and he's a bigger guy. And he can sideout well and transition,and he can also block sometimes,so I don't need to block full time. Last year Bill and I decided to play on the FIVB tour. We didn't break any AVP rules. There were a certain number of tournaments we were allowed to play in,and we did that. Jose and Emanuel played in one more than they were allowed,and they got fined a lot of money.I honestly don't think the other players had any negative attitude towards us because we played FIVB.
We weren't high enough ranked to go to the tournaments we wanted to go to,so we wound up going to France and Belgium and Moscow,which weren't premier events. It
was a big move for us. If we'd done lousy we would have lost a lot of money. But in the long run,thank God we did  it. Now we're the No. 1-ranked American team on the FIVB tour. It worked out huge for us.

             October 1,1997. That date still sticks in my head. It wasn't too long after I'd
moved to Vegas. A friend and I went to the casino to play a game called Caribbean
Stud. He was getting married in 10 days and was a little antsy, so we decided to blow off some steam. I walked up to the table,placed a bet. On the second hand, I began
fanning out my cards. There was a jack,a queen and an ace of spades. I looked at the next card,King of spades. I began to push the last card into view. I saw a one and a zero. It looked red,but when I spread the cards out further. I saw it was a 10 of spades.
A Royal Flush. The payoff was $64,000. Before we sat down at the table,my friend and I had decided we'd give each other 10 grand if we won. Obviously,we never thought it would happen. But it was a pretty cool feeling to see  him give his wife the
money in cash on their wedding day. I'd like to tell you that that's the kind of stuff that
happens when you move to Vegas, but the truth is, a Royal Flush only hits about once
every six or seven million hands. But to me, that story is a great example of the fun you can have when you live life to the fullest. That's a philosophy I've had ever since I
got out of college. I don't want to look back someday and have any regrets,so I do things a little differently.

              And yeah, you've got to watch yourself in Vegas. It's a town that can swallow
people and spit them out like you'd never believe. I have to admit,the first few months we were there,we went out partying all the time. I don't think it was a problem because
we were still working out. But it would be really easy to be in that town and start to lose focus on what you need to do. If that happens,you get sucked in real quick. And if
you get sucked in deep,it's hard to come out. I've seen people do it,and it's not pretty.
I think I've found the right balance, though. I'm out in the sun all summer,but in the winter I'm a vampire,going to bed at 6 a.m.,waking up in the afternoon,partying,going to shows and clubs,playing golf and gambling a little here and there. I remember one time I was riding in a cab with Mike Dodd,and he asked me about living in Vegas. I told him it was awesome,and he said: "I wish I would have done that at some time in
my life." For me,that kind of validated it. Because if you look at that guy,he's had a dream life. And when he said that,it kind of made me realize how fortunate I am to have the opportunity to do this kind of thing and how foolish it would be not to take advantage of it. Not that I'm not serious about my volleyball. A few months ago,I moved from Vegas to Hermosa Beach,and there's no question that right now my first
priority is to get to the Olympics and win. But my desire to have fun and enjoy life is
always going to be there.

              A while back ,I was in Turkey for a tournament. One day,Eric Fonoimoana and Dain Blanton and Beef and I were sitting on a huge,cliffy mountain overlooking the Mediterranean. A couple of the guys were saying: "I can't wait to get home," and
all of the sudden we realized we were taking things for granted. We were in a place we had never been. We had just gone cliff diving. The sunset was beautiful. Did we really want to go home? Once we thought about it,we all laughed. I mean,some people save their money for months and months to take trips like that,and we get to do it as part of
our job. It's hard to complain.

               I remember my first year on the tour. As a joke,one of the PR guys wrote in my bio that I'd been a guest star on the TV show CHiPs. I still get asked about that.

               The thing is, I don't need fictional adventure stories anymore.

               Now,I've got plenty of real ones.


r_clr.gif o_clr.gif y_clr.gif a_clr.gif l_clr.gif f_clr.gif l_clr.gif u_clr.gif s_clr.gif h_clr.gif
      ace.gif king.gif queen.gif jack.gif ten.gif






Thanks to everyone who let me use their photos of  Ian Clark and others for this site. Ian
Clark's photos and articles all remain property of the people who have been
credited for their work - if you wish any of these to be removed from the site please
contact me and I will take them off immediately. The images and articles used on this site
cannot be published on other web sites without expressed consent by the artist or

Copyright © 2000, Unca Nick Productions All Rights Reserved. Unca Nick
and his agents are not responsible for any misinformation pertaining to this

 Click Here.... to return to the starting page 

Use Quick Nav To Quickly Navigate This Site!!!

hiking.gif dblgrn.gifthrutr.gif











IanClarkVolleyball.net%20Belmar%20AVP%20Sunkist%20Open%20Page%20Belmar%20Weather%20Webcam%20Nitelife%20Pg8.jpg 2000 & 2001





IanClarkVolleyball.net%20Belmar%20AVP%20Sunkist%20Open%20Page%20Belmar%20Weather%20Webcam%20Nitelife%20Pg8.jpg Seaside Heights,NJ 2006








  PART  I (1st 10 AVP 2007 events)

  PART  II (2nd half 8 AVP 2007 events)

   PART  III (last 4 AVP 2007 events)