In 7th grade a teacher, Mrs. Lorenze, would utilize her free period to encourage participation in the ole playground blacktop volleyball, while the students were outside. Ryan Mariano was one of those students. They both quickly found his ability matched his passion for the competitive athleticism that launched his destiny. He practiced and fed his interest until volleyball engulfed his soul and he was hooked! I was able to actually track her down and could share her joy in the memories of this little Ryan kid.
His freshman year, he used to go to a private club where he watched these 4 older men play all the time intensely taking visual notes. One day, the 4th person didn’t show up, and as he was sitting there waiting for his daily dose of evaluations… they invited him to play! The bundle of nerves in the pit of his stomach filled him with both fear and excitement. He took a deep breath and jumped into this opportunity of a lifetime. These older men not only saw this young kid with talent, but a burning fire of competitive aspirations to be the best he could be. They embraced his eagerness and encouraged him with their tips and tricks of the game, but never made it feel like it was hard work; they made it fun! They fueled him with a kind-handed push him to be one of the top in his game. Randy Rahn was one of these guys who became his mentor, who fostered his love for the game. With humbled appreciation in his eyes and a smirky smile, Ryan mentions, “I would call him from time to time, whenever I needed, and he would always answer and inspire me.”
Ryan’s commitment would pay off as he became a worldwide successful professional beach volleyball player. After meeting with him and hearing his disposition – I saw no ego only pure gratitude for that teacher who introduced him and focused his direction into this prosperous career. I saw the heartfelt joy for the men who nurtured it into this fun lifestyle. His life mantra is a dedication to those who inspired him and he only hopes to be that force in the lives of others by running his organization with that same integrity: RPM Sand Volleyball started in Phoenix, AZ in 2013. He holds vigilante to the value that one person can and should impact another.
He is also a dedicated father of 2 boys who are just the fire to his modest energy. When talking about them, his eyes light up and provoke a soulful tear of joy for the emphasis of principles on the time he spends with them.
Ryan has surrounded himself with an amazing team of players, coaches, trainers, sports psychologists and with him as their mentor, he incorporates the full mind, body, and spirit training program. I found he has a commitment to every player – from every walk of life – to embrace the personal growth that his organization has to offer and on every level. From beginners, Jrs to College and Pro, Local to International, depending on the speed you choose to embark on the volleyball journey.
Nick Bowling, who has been with him from the start is a man who holds true to the same desire to impact the lives of others. He met Ryan at a Tournament, and their journeys collided. He is a Spanish teacher, school coach (leading them to a state title game), scouts for Olympic hopefuls with RPM’s International coaching staff, and brings the talented skills of a 2006 Top 4 finisher in the USA Volleyball Men’s Indoor National Championship. His focus is teaching with inspiration, whether it’s Spanish or Volleyball, and believes that his inspiration is fueled by family. Whether student or athlete, he embraces you with a family vibe of encouragement and support that establishes team worth.
Shawn Malkou is not only a national championship coach, but the go to guy for all social media management, web design, and Ryan’s marketing Guru. His mantra of success is to share with others, not only on the court, but off as well. He shares in the enthusiastic power and will astound anyone who asks with the stats of this organization listed below. His strong financial background isn’t wasted and sitting in the background either. he is incredible at making sure everyone gets what they paid for and more. He understands the ethics of money and strategically combines them with dream to set goals. It is his front and center priority and he is always willing to help with a smile.
The Stats of his RPM Sand speaks in volumes. With 6 Junior National Champions, 40 athletes with Top 10 Finishes at Nationals, 3 High School All-Americans, and countless Collegiate Scholarships Awarded, 2 AVCA All-Americans in College, 2 Professional AVP Players, 2 AVP International Tour Tournament Winners, 2 Coaches on the AVP Tour, and a Coach that won the AVP Hermosa Beach Open. “Quality is the vital key to everyone’s success,” Ryan says.
Marc Townsend is a 1991 National Championship Men’s Volleyball Winner, a winning high school coach with 4 State Final Fours, 2 State HS Championships, Arizona State Coach of the year in 1993, with 85 players playing in Division 1 Schools. His inspirational style coaching directs his players to successful mindset in all aspects of life. As a Craftsman, Business Owner, and Professional Fishermen, his ability is not only knowing how to get Dreams into Goals but to their final destination: Personal Growth and Success. His specialty and energy lends itself to the Be the Best Version of Yourself Success for sure !!
Danko Iordanov is a scholarship success story from Varna, Bulgaria, achieving the First Place title in the Bulgaria Tour, and still maintains a AAA player rating since 2006. He understands the diligence of success and most importantly, having fun doing it. He believes in the focus of observing strategies for more favorable results. He coaches with a fortitude of overcoming the obstacles, and bringing athletes into their next level by structure and planning. He believes in dedication and competitive drive, anything can be accomplished.
Coach Pete grew up playing volleyball in Madison, WI where he won a state championship in 1995. He later went to the University of Arizona for undergrad and Northern Arizona University for his Master’s in Psychology. Understanding the focus of positive reinforcement is crucial to success. Pete’s coaching career started at Copper Canyon High School in 2011 and set winning school records. In 2015 his teams won back-to-back indoor and beach State Championships from Fountain Hills High School . His legacy carries numerous coach of the year awards, including the AZ Central Small Schools Coach of the Year in 2017, and the Co-Beach Volleyball Coach of the Year in 2018. With these types of accomplishments, he is more than just a coach, he is a valuable asset to the coaching team.
Not only do the coaches speak highly of Ryan as a Mentor and Business Professional, his former players possess an eagerness for more of his leadership. Katie Cross has been with RPM since the beginning. As a player and part of the first graduating class of the organization. She continued to perform at Arizona State University, earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Law, and couldn’t wait to be a part of the coaching team with Ryan. The originally inspired participant caught the intoxication of value and impact on others, and is honored to have elevated from inspired to inspiring others as part of the coaching staff. Her genuine smile of joyful enthusiasm and work ethic can be infectious!
Kyle Boron works at American Airlines and when he’s not traveling… He is just Kyle.. the character, the fun guy who invokes the laughter and the prankster of the crew. He is an element that really makes the kids forget they are working hard by cracking jokes while doing burpees and suicides: Anyone who can do that is an inspiration to the joy of the game.
Cierra Flood is also an Alumni who is one of the top teams at Arizona State University and is earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. This education is adding to her strongest asset of the mindset she is able to instill in her players as a coach. With her own Athletic schedule and schooling, she knows the difference she contributes as part of the RPM program. Her mantra is one that leads by example as she holds herself accountable for her skills as she relentlessly trains and works at top energy right along side of her players.
To have former players coming back invoking Ryan’s mindful impact of humility and appreciation for those who have made the differences along the travelled paths of life. It is an unselfish validation of his pure energy and passion for what he does.
Ryan has formed a powerhouse tribe, and even has Dr Afremow, author and liscenced professional counselor of The Champion’s Mind: How Great Athletes Think, Train, and Thrive, and founder of the Good to Gold Medal, PLLC as a consultant.
To me, this is the push over the edge – to go the extra mile – to ensure that he has an impact on mind, body, but most importantly the soul. This is more than a Sand Volleyball Organization: THIS is the Volleyball way of life. This is an epic example to all organizations everywhere – to strive not for money, but for the love of the game, the vehemence of value in your players, and the success will follow.
Ryan may have started RPM Sand out of appreciation for what others contributed to his life, but he has definitely given back on an international level more than anyone could fathom. It was my privilege to meet with him in person, and interview his staff. All I can say is… Time to Rev your engines and get those RPM’s ramped up, because this organization will leave all others in the dust !!