Retirement Collection: Nick Lucena – USA Volleyball

Retirement Collection: Nick Lucena – USA Volleyball

Nick Lucena

Years professional: 20 (2003-2022)

Hometown: Davie, Florida

Profession Highlights: Two-time Olympian… fourth-place at 2015 FIVB Seashore Volleyball World Championship… 2015 USA Volleyball Males’s Seashore Participant of the Yr… 2015 USA Volleyball Seashore Crew of the Yr (with Phil Dalhuasser)… 2017 AVP Crew of the Yr (with Phil Dalhausser)… 9 worldwide gold medals… 26 worldwide podium finishes… 17 AVP victories… three-time AVP Gold Collection Manhattan Seashore Open champion (2015, 2017, 2018).

Olympic Video games: 2016 Rio and 2020 Tokyo


Nick Lucena will now not be patrolling the backline of a seaside volleyball court docket.

He’s bought the sideline, as a substitute.

The 2-time Olympian introduced his retirement from skilled seaside volleyball after the AVP’s Gold Collection Atlanta Open this month. He’s transitioning instantly to teaching and has taken a job at Florida State because the seaside volleyball assistant coach.

“I’ve devoted my life to seaside volleyball. It’s the one factor I might say I’m an skilled at,” Lucena mentioned. “I’ve all the time loved the teaching side of seaside volleyball, whether or not it was clinics or volunteering at Florida State. When the chance arose, it was a straightforward determination.”

The brand new position in Tallahassee isn’t that new for Lucena. He served as this system’s volunteer assistant within the spring, serving to information the Seminoles to the nationwide championship match. Moreover, he’s married to the pinnacle coach, Brooke Niles. Plus:

Retirement Collection: Nick Lucena – USA Volleyball
Nick Lucena incessantly wore hats bearing the Florida State brand throughout matches

“I’m a diehard Florida State fan,” he mentioned. “I’m an alumnus, I’ve been representing them for the final 20-plus years. It was a win-win scenario.”

Serving to within the spring, Lucena observed similarities between teaching elite athletes and being one himself.

“I used to be shocked at how a lot I loved it and the way a lot of that adrenaline rush you get if you compete [also came while coaching],” he mentioned of his time final spring. “I believed it was simply as enjoyable [as playing], and I might see myself doing this.”

Whether or not he’ll coach so long as he performed stays to be seen, but when he does, it’ll be a powerful second profession for the Davie, Florida, native. Lucena performed his first AVP match in 2003 with longtime good friend and companion, Phil Dalhausser. They competed collectively throughout Lucena’s worldwide debut in 2005 earlier than splitting. Lucena competed with a bunch of companions for the following decade, discovering success with Matt Fuerbringer and Sean Scott, amongst others. He even took fourth on the 2015 World Championship with Theo Brunner.

Nonetheless, he and Phil reunited in 2015 and made a mad sprint towards the Rio 2016 Olympics. They certified for the Video games, Lucena’s first, and misplaced to eventual gold medalists Alison Cerutti/Bruno Oscar Schmidt within the quarterfinals. After Rio, they postponed retirement and made one other Olympic run. In Tokyo, they once more bumped into an eventual medalist throughout the playoffs, falling in three units to bronze winners Cherif Younousee/Ahmed Tijan within the Spherical of 16.

Lucena performed one closing worldwide match this March, competing on the Tlaxcala Problem with Andy Benesh (Dalhausser retired from worldwide play after the 2020 Olympics). The brand new companion, new coach, and new worldwide tour format had been changes that’d have to be made. Plus, he had a burgeoning teaching profession and three children at house.

That really feel is every little thing. When requested about robust recollections from his profession, Lucena didn’t title an Olympics or one in every of his 29 home or worldwide gold medals. He talked about USA Volleyball’s seaside coaching facility in Torrance, California, and the individuals who labored there.

“That Torrance facility, that’s one in every of my favourite locations,” Lucena mentioned. “From working with [facility staff; he mentioned Tim Pelot, Anthony Darmiento, Aimee Miyazawa, Michael Martinez, Christian Hartford and Arbhie Guce specifically] and hanging round [Director of National Beach Programs] Sean Scott, he’s been a great good friend of mine for a very long time. I really like that place. Hanging out in Torrance with these guys and going to work there was such a deal with for me. The actual fact I received’t spend time there anymore, I’m going to overlook tremendously.”

Seashore volleyball gave Lucena a 20-year profession, numerous associates, and even his spouse. He struggles to think about a life with out it. He “simply wished to extend getting a real-life job” when he began enjoying within the early 2000s. Now?

“I really like the sport, and the truth that it’s taken me thus far… I couldn’t even have dreamt it. It’s given me every little thing. I couldn’t see my life with out it.

“I sit again and give it some thought, I don’t really feel like I deserve all this. I in all probability don’t remind myself how grateful I must be for doing this.”

He’s completed it for the final 20 years. Now, he’ll coach it. Both manner, seaside volleyball is what Nick Lucena excels at.

Leave a Reply