Casey Jennings and Casey Patterson share more than a first name and a dream to win a gold medal.
They share a valuable relationship with former Brigham Young University head volleyball coach Carl McGown.
partner » Jake Gibb
» Ranked second in AVP
» Attended BYU in 1999 and 2002-2005
» Named Best Offensive Player in 2013
» Earned Team of the Year with Gibb in 2013
Beach volleyballpartner » Jeremy Casebeer
» Ranked seventh in AVP
» Attended BYU in 1999-2000.
» Named AVP Most Improved Player in both 2002 and 2003
» Named Best Defensive Player in 2003
» Is married to fellow beach volleyball player Kerri Walsh Jennings
O Casey Patterson and Jake Gibb will face Casey Jennings and Jeremy Casebeer at 10:05 a.m. on Stadium court at Liberty Park.
» Tickets available for $15-$18 online at avp.com or at Liberty Park.
Patterson, who attended BYU in 1999 and 2002-2005, described McGown as one of the greatest minds to ever coach volleyball.
McGown also said he laid the foundation of men’s volleyball at BYU and in the state of Utah. In his 13 years at BYU, McGown paced the Cougars to nine top-10 finishes and coached 18 All-Americans. He was also named National Coach of the Year twice and compiled a 225-137 record.
"He teaches you the groundwork of [volleyball]," said Jennings, who attended BYU from 1999-2000. "He doesn’t just want to win titles; he wants to get the individual to a certain place in their career."
The former Cougars said they attribute a lot of their career success to him.
Jennings said he taught him the importance of a strong mental and physical game and taught him the basics of the game.
He added that sometimes McGown was more than a coach.
"He helped me with a lot of things in life. … I thank him," said Jennings, who won an national championship in 1999; Patterson was a redshirt freshman. "I just love that guy so much because of the fatherly side … that he gives to all his players."
Added Patterson: "I attribute a lot of successes as a player to Carl McGown."
Both are now beach volleyball stars for AVP and competing in a tournament in Liberty Park in Salt Lake City.
"We are not friends tomorrow," Jennings joked about Patterson, whom he is scheduled to play on Saturday. "We are going to beat them down."
The confident Jennings and his partner, Jeremy Casebeer, will battle Patterson and Jake Gibb, a Bountiful native and two-time Olympian, at 10:05 a.m. on the Stadium court. Patterson and Gibb are ranked second in the tournament, while Jennings and Casebeer are ranked seventh.
"We are fired up to destroy everyone in front of us," said Patterson, who was named the 2013 Best Offensive Player and earned Team of the Year with Gibb the same year of AVP. The duo has some unfinished business in Salt Lake City after losing in the semifinals last year.
While the former BYU standouts have winning the AVP championship in their sights, they are happy to be back in the city.
"I have had a lot of great memories in Utah in general, and Salt Lake City in particular," said Jennings. He said there is a lot of good music and good people.
Patterson said it feels good to be a familiar place with family and friends.
"I play in a lot of random places, and I know where I am now," he said, adding that he plans to eat at the Dodo restaurant.
Once their toes sink into the sand, the game is on and the goal is the summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
"That’s the pinnacle of our sport," said Patterson. "We don’t have an NBA championship that is held at a higher esteem than a gold medal like in basketball. Our goal is to qualify for the Olympics and to hopefully win a gold."
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