Wednesday, 29 May 2024

Volleyball Legend Rolf Engen Passes Away

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Aug. 1, 2018) – We are deeply saddened to share the news of the passing of Rolf Engen, a legendary figure in the world of volleyball. On July 31, surrounded by his family at his home in Laguna Beach, California, Rolf Engen peacefully left us. He would have turned 89 on Aug. 5.

A Legacy in Volleyball

Rolf Engen was a member of the U.S. Men’s National Team that achieved gold at the 1955 and 1959 Pan American Games. He also played a significant role in the inaugural FIVB World Championship in 1956, where the U.S. finished sixth.

During his participation in the USA Volleyball Open National Championships, Engen’s excellence shone through, earning him first-team all-American honors for an impressive ten consecutive years from 1953 to 1962. Additionally, he led the Hollywood YMCA Stars to nine USAV Open Division championships in the 1950s and 1960s. Engen’s exceptional skills on the court resulted in him being named Player of the Year in 1958 and 1962. In recognition of his outstanding contributions to the sport, USA Volleyball honored him with the All-Time Great Player Award in 1966.

A Journey in Volleyball

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Engen’s passion for volleyball ignited in 1947 when he joined the Santa Ana YMCA. Later, while serving in the army at Fort Lewis in Washington state, he became an All-Army setter. Engen’s collegiate career at UCLA in the early 1950s was equally impressive, with him contributing to two National Collegiate Championship teams and earning all-American status in 1953 and 1954.

Beyond his playing days, Engen continued to make an impact on the sport. He served as the commissioner of volleyball for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games, leaving an indelible mark on the event’s success. Engen’s influence extended to the establishment of the Laguna Beach Volleyball Club, where he led the team to three golds and two silvers between 1975 and 1979.

Speaking on behalf of USA Volleyball, CEO Jamie Davis expressed his sadness at the loss and paid tribute to Engen’s extraordinary achievements. Davis stated, “Rolf Engen was truly one of the legends of the game. His remarkable achievements, including ten consecutive All-American first-team honors and his success at the Pan American Games, exemplify his dedication and talent. Rolf’s passion for the sport extended beyond his playing days, as he played a critical role in the successful 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles as the commissioner of volleyball.”

A Legacy Beyond Volleyball

Off the court, Engen left an indelible mark on Southern California’s wine industry. In 1953, he opened Rolf’s Wine and Spirits in Tustin, California, marking the beginning of his visionary journey. Over the following six decades, Engen expanded his operations throughout Orange County, becoming the face of wine in Southern California.

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Rolf Engen’s legacy in the world of volleyball and the wine industry will not be forgotten. He will be remembered for his exceptional talent, his dedication to the sport, and his visionary spirit. Our deepest condolences go out to his family and friends during this difficult time.


Q: What awards did Rolf Engen receive during his volleyball career?
A: Rolf Engen was honored with the All-Time Great Player Award by USA Volleyball in 1966. Additionally, he received the Player of the Year award in 1958 and 1962.

Q: What role did Rolf Engen play in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games?
A: Rolf Engen served as the commissioner of volleyball for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games, playing a crucial role in ensuring the success of the event.

Q: What impact did Rolf Engen have on the Laguna Beach Volleyball Club?
A: Rolf Engen founded the Laguna Beach Volleyball Club and led the team to three golds and two silvers between 1975 and 1979, leaving a lasting impact on the club’s success.


Rolf Engen, a volleyball legend, passed away at the age of 89. He was a highly accomplished player, representing the U.S. Men’s National Team and winning gold at the Pan American Games in 1955 and 1959. Engen’s contributions to the sport extended beyond his playing days, as he served as the commissioner of volleyball for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games and founded the successful Laguna Beach Volleyball Club. Engen’s impact on the volleyball community will be remembered for generations to come. Our heartfelt condolences go out to his family and friends.

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