COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Aug. 1, 2018) – USA Volleyball expresses its deepest condolences to the family and friends of 1991 International Volleyball Hall of Fame inductee Rolf Engen, who passed away on July 31 surrounded by family at his home in Laguna Beach, California. He would have been 89 on Aug. 5.
Engen was a member of the U.S. Men’s National Team that won gold at the 1955 and 1959 Pan American Games. He also participated in the inaugural FIVB World Championship in 1956 in which the U.S. finished sixth.
While competing in the USA Volleyball Open National Championships, Engen earned first-team all-American 10 consecutive years from 1953 to 1962. He also led the Hollywood YMCA Stars to nine USAV Open Division championships in the 1950s and 1960s. Engen was chosen Player of the Year in 1958 and 1962.
USA Volleyball honored Engen with its All-Time Great Player Award in 1966.
Engen’s early volleyball career began in 1947 when he joined the Santa Ana YMCA. He later became an All-Army setter while on active duty at Fort Lewis in Washington state. Engen participated on two National Collegiate Championship teams while playing for UCLA in the early 1950s, including earning all-American status in 1953 and 1954.
After his playing days, Engen served as the commissioner of volleyball for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games. He also started the Laguna Beach Volleyball Club and led the team to three golds and two silvers from 1975 to 1979.
“USA Volleyball is sad to hear of the passing of Rolf Engen, one of our legends of the games,” USA Volleyball CEO Jamie Davis said. “He endured the test of time by winning 10 straight All-American first-team honors after winning gold in the first two Pan American Games representing the USA. Rolf then gave back to the sport by starting a boys’ junior volleyball club. He also played a key role in the successful 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles as the commissioner of volleyball.”
Off the court, Engen was a visionary in Southern California’s wine industry. He started by opening Rolf’s Wine and Spirits in 1953 in Tustin, California, then expanded his operations throughout Orange County and became the face of wine in Southern California for six decades.