This year's USA Men's Volleyball team has its eyes on defending its 2008 gold medal in London. Capturing that gold medal will not happen without the contributions of three members of the team that have direct connections with Southern California.
Head Coach Alan Knipe palyed at Marina High and later coached at Golden West College, while David McKienzie and Russell Holmes attended high school at Huntington Beach and Fountain Valley High respectively. The Huntington Beach Independent profiled the trio in a piece on Wednesday. All three are making their Olympic debuts, including Knipe who has never coached in the Olympics before.
Since taking over the head coach post for the national team, Knipe has struggled in international play. This year's olympics give him and his team a chance to redeem himself and prove that USA Volleyball's run in 2008 can be replicated.
Longtime Long Beach State University coach Alan Knipe took over and instead of staying at the top, the U.S. men sank back to the middle of the pack -- sixth at the 2010 Worlds; sixth, eighth and seventh in the FIVB World League from 2009-2011; and sixth at the 2011 FIVB World Cup. (Via: NBC Olympics)
Group play in Men's Volleyball begins this weekend on Sunday, July 29th. Team USA takes on Serbia at 8:45 a.m. PT in their first match.
For more on the 2012 London Olympic Games, make sure that you check out SB Nation's dedicated Olympics hub.