Dain Blanton, Steve Bishop and Cassidy Lichtman have been elected to the USA Volleyball Board of Directors
Blanton will hold the beach at-large director position through June 30, 2023, while Bishop takes over the remaining beach development director term that expires June 30, 2020. Lichtman will serve as the female indoor athlete representative on the Board through June 30, 2023.
Blanton was the United States’ first two-time male beach volleyball Olympian. He partnered with Eric Fonoimoana to win gold at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games after the pair was seeded ninth in the tournament. Blanton returned for his second Olympics by partnering with Jeff Nygaard at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.
“I am so excited to be on the USAV Board,” Blanton said. “I look forward to sharing my years of experience at all levels of volleyball and contributing and assisting in decision making that will enhance and grow the game for generations to come!”
Blanton is among just a handful of beach volleyball players to have won an NCAA title in college, an Olympic gold medal and multiple professional tour titles. He was a 1994 AVCA All-American honorable mention while at Pepperdine University where he lettered from 1991 to 1994 including a NCAA men’s indoor title in 1992. As a pro, Blanton won 11 beach tournaments (nine on the AVP Tour and two on the FIVB tour) while pocketing $725,000 in winnings.
Blanton recently accepted the position of head women’s beach volleyball coach at University of Southern California after serving as a volunteer coach for the USC from 2015-18. The Women of Troy won the 2015 AVCA national crown followed by the 2016 and 2017 NCAA championships during his volunteer tenure.
Blanton served as a color analyst and sideline reporter for ESPN during the 2019 season, covering the NCAA beach championship for ESPN and the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championship on the Olympic Channel. He also covered beach volleyball at the 2016 Olympic Games for NBC.
Bishop has served as executive director and president of the Florida Region of USA Volleyball since 2005 where he has strived to bring attention to all facets of the game, whether beach, indoor or sitting volleyball for both genders.
“I’m honored to be elected for the beach development director position on USA Volleyball’s Board of Directors,” Bishop said. “Our collective task is great and diverse. Beach volleyball is one of the most popular sports at the Olympics and that excitement continues to trickle down to professional, collegiate, high school and the grassroots level for recreational players. We have unlimited potential for growth with high school (boys & girls) and collegiate men. I look forward to working alongside the other Board of Directors and USA Volleyball senior management to grow participation and event opportunities for every category possible. Our work will have a lasting impact on the sport.”
Bishop is the founder and venue director of Hickory Point Beach Sand Volleyball Complex. The 21-court facility with a 4,000-square-foot clubhouse in Florida has hosted many regional, national and international events.
Bishop also serves as president and board chair of the International Volleyball Hall of Fame with a mission of ensuring the top players and leaders from around the world are recognized for their accomplishments. He is also a member of the USA Volleyball Sitting Volleyball Commission. Bishop is a member of the AVCA High School All-American Beach Selection Committee.
Bishop has been honored by USA Volleyball on numerous occasions. He was chosen as a George J. Fisher Leader in Volleyball in 2019 after being tabbed with the 2016 USA Volleyball Karen M. Johnson Human Resources Award. In 2010, he was presented with USA Volleyball’s Meritorious Service Award.
Lichtman came up through USA Volleyball’s High Performance program and was selected to senior-level national teams from 2011 to 2015. She won gold twice in 2015 at the Pan American Cup and Pan American Games, her seventh and eighth time reaching the podium with Team USA. Lichtman also played professionally in Poland, Switzerland, Azerbaijan, France and China outside of her National Team career.
“I have spent most of my life as a member of USAV-- as a player, coach and national team member— so I am excited for the opportunity to understand the organization on a deeper level and to try to help make improvements wherever we can,” Lichtman said.
Lichtman was selected AVCA All-America First-Team in 2009 and 2010, capping a four-year career at Stanford University. She was a versatile athlete having played multiple positions in her career at various times including setter, outside hitter, opposite and defensive specialist.
Lichtman was named CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine First-Team Academic All-American as a senior in 2010 and went on to graduate in 2011 with a bachelor of arts degree in political science and a master of arts degree in history a year later.
Lichtman helped power the U.S. Women’s Junior National Team to a fourth-place finish at the 2007 FIVB Women’s U20 World Championship. She started playing club volleyball in 2000 with San Diego Volleyball Club 12-1.
Lichtman created her own volleyball clinic series called Play with a Purpose in which all money went to the Ronald McDonald House. She herself overcame many physical challenges as a youngster. At age nine, Lichtman was told she would never be able to walk against because of unrelenting pain in her left leg. She battled through the chronic pain to become an outstanding collegiate and international volleyball player.