MALIBU, California – Indoor and beach volleyball coaching legend Nina Matthies announced her decision to retire after the 2018 campaign today, which will bring an end to an outstanding career that has included two AVCA beach championships and more than 700 collective wins at Pepperdine.
In addition to announcing Matthies’ retirement, Marcio Sicoli, her long-time assistant and a notable coach in his own right, will be promoted to head coach of the beach volleyball program at the conclusion of the 2018 season.
In Matthies’ six previous seasons on the beach, she has amassed a 112-18 (.861) record and has coached the Waves to all six years of beach postseason events, including AVCA championships titles in 2012 and 2014 and an NCAA runner-up finish in 2017. In 31 indoor seasons between 1983-2013, Matthies had a 590-343 (.632) record and led the Waves to 20 NCAA tournaments.
“It’s a great time to make this change in my life and in the program,” said Matthies. “Our staff has been working so well together, my team is amazing and it just seems like the right move for my husband Dan and me. My 35 years at Pepperdine, actually half my life spent growing at Pepperdine, has been nothing but a blessing. The people I’ve worked with, met, coached, I couldn’t have asked for a better support group throughout the years.
“I want to thank Dr. Andrew Benton and Dr. Steve Potts for allowing me to start the beach program and we’ll forever be grateful for their support of this team and our constant goal of sustaining one of the top programs in the country.”
On the beach, she has coached 18 Waves to AVCA All-American status, more than any other school that sponsors the sport. She has also led four to Volleyball Magazine All-American honors. In indoor volleyball, 10 of Matthies players garnered All-American honors a total of 19 times.
“We have been blessed at Pepperdine with incredible volleyball coaches,” said Director of Athletics Dr. Steve Potts. “Nina Matthies has established a legacy of teaching and success that will likely never be equaled. Our strong commitment to collegiate beach volleyball was an easy decision because of Nina's involvement and leadership.
“Every women's beach volleyball collegiate student-athlete owes a debt of gratitude and thanks to Nina for all that she has done for their sport. I will always be thankful for the opportunity I have had to work with Nina and, on behalf of Pepperdine athletics, want to say thank you to her for her dedication, sacrifice and extraordinary commitment to countless Pepperdine Waves. Thank you, Nina!”
Matthies’ legacy extends far beyond Pepperdine and the volleyball court inside Firestone Fieldhouse and on Zuma Beach. Several years ago Matthies, along with a committee of coaches and AVCA members, began campaigning to add beach volleyball to the list of NCAA sponsored sports. The NCAA announced “sand volleyball” as an emerging sport in January 2010, and Pepperdine officially added the program to its ranks in August 2011. The sport experienced record-breaking growth and became an NCAA championship sport prior to the 2016 campaign, being rebranded as “beach volleyball” in the process.
Matthies earned the inaugural AVCA Sand Volleyball Coach of the Year honor in 2013 and has since been a two-time West Coast Conference Beach Volleyball Coach of the Year in 2016 and 2017. She was inducted into the AVCA Hall of Fame in 2015 and was named a USA Volleyball’s All-Time Great Female Beach Player Award recipient and one of the most influential people in the first 100 years of volleyball by Volleyball Magazine.
Matthies was named to the 75th Anniversary All-Era team by USA Volleyball in 2004 and was inducted into the Women’s Professional Volleyball Association Hall of Fame in 1995. In indoor volleyball, she earned WCC Coach of the Year seven times and co-Coach of the Year an additional three times. Three times her coaching prowess has led to national recognition, as she was the 1999 District 8 Coach of the Year, the 2002 Pacific Region Coach of the Year and the 2003 Pacific Region co-Coach of the Year.
Matthies and her husband of 40 years will continue to live in their Malibu home, travel the world visiting grandchildren and family and plan to visit Zuma Beach regularly.
In the 2018-19 season, Sicoli will become the second head coach in the beach volleyball program’s existence. He has been right alongside Matthies for every step of the way with the Waves’ beach successes. Sicoli joined Matthies’ indoor coaching staff prior to the 2008 season, coached both beach and indoor teams with Matthies from 2012, and focused on beach volleyball with the Waves beginning in the 2014 season.
“I want to thank Dr. Andrew Benton, Dr. Steve Potts and Karina Herold for this opportunity to preserve the legacy at Pepperdine,” said Sicoli. “Our program is one of the top in the country, and my goal is to maintain our status quo and continue to develop our student-athletes to be leaders on and off the beach.
Pepperdine again makes a big impact on 2018 SoCal Indoor VB Hall of Fame honoree list! Head Beach Volleyball Coach Nina Matthies & former Pepp Men's Volleyball Head Coach Burt DeGroot & women's Ass't Coach Mike Bright with the honors! #PeppProud READ: https://t.co/K9YcbUSqJ5 pic.twitter.com/8sV05PP3pK— Pepperdine Athletics (@PepperdineWaves) January 3, 2018
“I’m humbled by my partnership with Nina these past 10 years, which has allowed me to grow as a person and coach. I am proud of what we have built together; it is out of this partnership that I was trusted to be in this position.”
Sicoli also coached beach volleyball legends Kerri Walsh Jennings and Misty May-Treanor during the 2012 Olympic Games in London to a gold medal, as well as Walsh Jennings and April Ross in the 2016 Games in his hometown of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where they earned the bronze.
“Marcio Sicoli is well-established as one of the best beach volleyball coaches in the world,” said Potts. “He has experience at the very highest levels of the sport and we are very fortunate to have had him working with our program from the beginning. I am so pleased that Marcio has agreed to lead our team as head coach following Nina's retirement.”
Sicoli was also the assistant coach for the Brazilian Olympic women’s beach volleyball team from 2000-04, helping one of their duos to a silver medal at the 2004 Olympics in Athens. He has coached various other indoor and beach volleyball teams, including serving as the head coach for women’s beach volleyball legend Holly McPeak and as head coach of the AVP women’s beach volleyball team of Tatiana Minello and Semirames Marins during the 2005 and 2006 seasons. In 2007, Sicoli served as head coach for the women’s beach team of Minello and Carrie Dodd and as coach of the men’s beach team of Casey Jennings and Matt Fuerbringer.
“Marcio and I have worked side-by-side for the past 10 years and I couldn’t think of anyone better suited for this job,” Matthies said. “His passion for volleyball and life is unsurpassed and as I tell everyone who asks, I think he’s a volleyball genius.”
Sicoli received his master of arts in educational psychology from Pepperdine in 2015 and his bachelor’s of physical education degree from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro in 2001 and competed for the men’s volleyball team as the setter from 1999-2002. He holds a specialization in sports training (earned in 2002-03) and holds a Brazilian Beach Volleyball Level II coaching credential (earned in 2001).