Kent Steffes | 2020 All-Time Great Beach Male Player
Kent Steffes started playing indoor volleyball at the age of 12 before transitioning to beach volleyball where he advanced to become one of the most decorated players of all time.
Kent’s talent emerged when a group of parents in Pacific Palisades, California, started a club team. He played in many USA Volleyball Junior National Championship competitions, while also playing beach events during the summer. As the No. 1 recruit out of high school, Kent accepted a scholarship to Stanford University where he played his freshman year before making the decision to go professional. That decision resulted in travelling the world and producing one of the most successful careers on the beach.
Kent won his first AVP Tour Open in 1989 and was named AVP Best Up-and-Coming Player that same year. By age 21, Kent became the youngest No. 1 player in the history of the AVP. He’d go on to win with numerous partners, capturing World Championships, World Cups, Manhattan Beach Open titles and setting records such as: most wins in a single season, most consecutive wins, and highest wining percentage of all time.
In the early 1990s, Kent partnered with Karch Kiraly and together they won 63 of 75 tournaments during one stretch. But it wasn’t just winning, it was how they won. In one tournament, the pair yielded just 11 total points. Together they introduced the world to Beach Volleyball at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, bringing the first gold medals in the sport back to the USA.
In 1997, Kent partnered with Jose Loiola, continuing his dominance of the decade. Kent retired in 1999 having amassed 110 tournament wins, $2.5 million in prize money, and the honor of being named Greatest Beach Volleyball player of the 1990s.