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Michael John Whitmarsh (May 18, 1962 – February 17, 2009) was an American male volleyball and basketball player. He won the silver medal in the men's inaugural beach volleyball tournament at the 1996 Summer Olympics, partnering with Mike Dodd. Throughout his volleyball career, Whitmarsh earned over $1.6 million as well as 28 tournaments.[1]

Mike Whitmarsh
Personal information
BornMichael John Whitmarsh
(1962-05-18)May 18, 1962
San Diego, California, U.S.
DiedFebruary 17, 2009(2009-02-17) (aged 46)
Solana Beach, California, U.S.
Height6 ft 7 in (2.01 m)

Whitmarsh played college basketball for the San Diego Toreros. He was a two-time all-conference player in the West Coast Athletic Conference (WCAC), known now as the West Coast Conference, and led San Diego to their first-ever conference title in 1984. He played professional basketball for three years in Europe before turning to volleyball.


Early lifeEdit

Whitmarsh was born in San Diego.[1] He played basketball at Monte Vista High in Spring Valley, California and later Grossmont College in El Cajon. He did not take academics seriously as a freshman at Grossmont. Whitmarsh did not think that he had a chance to get an athletic scholarship until Toreros coach Jim Brovelli showed interest in him. Lacking the units to be admitted into the University of San Diego (USD), Whitmash committed himself to studying.[2]

College careerEdit

The 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) Whitmarsh played college basketball at USD. He started all 24 games as a junior, averaging 15.3 points and 5.3 rebounds per game and earning all-confernce honors in the WCAC. As a senior in 1983–84, he averaged 18.8 points and 7.3 rebounds and led the Toreros to an 18–10 record and the 1984 NCAA Tournament. In the final game of the regular season against Saint Mary's, he had 24 points and six rebounds in a 68–59 win to clinch the Torreros' first-ever WCAC title. He was named All-WCAC again, and was runner-up to John Stockton in the voting for the WCAC Player of the Year.[2]

Professional careerEdit

Whitmarsh was drafted by the NBA's Portland Trail Blazers in the fifth round in 1984.[3] He also narrowly missed making the roster of the Minnesota Timberwolves, and played professionally in Germany for three years before abandoning basketball in favor of beach volleyball.[1] Transitioning from the indoor hard court to the soft sand of beach volleyball (which is often played under hot and humid conditions) was not easy, and he developed a reputation for cramping late in tournaments. His leg cramps were so bad that he often required an I.V. to rehydrate and equalize his chemical balance.[citation needed]


Whitmarsh was in the midst of a divorce from his wife Cindy and was found dead in a friend's garage on Wednesday, February 17, 2009, leaving behind two young daughters. According to the San Diego County medical examiner, he had committed suicide from inhalation of carbon monoxide from automobile exhaust.[1]

Awards and honorsEdit

  • AVP Rookie of the Year 1990
  • AVP King of the Beach 2000
  • AVP Best Blocker 2002
  • AVP Lifetime Achievement 2004
  • AVP Role Model Award 2003
  • AVP Special Achievement 2003


  1. ^ a b c d Perry, Tony (2009-02-19). "Mike Whitmarsh dies at 46; Olympic medalist in beach volleyball". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2009-02-19.
  2. ^ a b Canepa, Michael (December 3, 1984). "Year later, Whitmarsh looks forward and back". Evening Tribune. p. D-1.
  3. ^ 1984 NBA Draft Archived 2007-10-17 at the Wayback Machine,

External linksEdit