Off the Block to present inaugural Dain Blanton Diversity Award for college men’s volleyball

A new college men’s volleyball national award that celebrates the diversity in the game will be named in honor of a former Pepperdine great.

Off the Block announced on Sunday that starting this season it will annually present the Dain Blanton Diversity Award.

The Dain Blanton Diversity Award recognizes the top NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball player during the regular season of a minority ethnicity. In addition, the national award will be determined by a nationwide voting committee of college men’s volleyball coaches and volleyball media members.

This is the only national award in college men’s volleyball created specifically to celebrate the outstanding individual performances of minority players. Players of all backgrounds have significantly contributed throughout the history college men’s volleyball from helping teams win NCAA championships to earning numerous All-American and all-conference honors.

Blanton was an All-MPSF outside attacker and concluded his college career in 1994 setting the Pepperdine school record for career digs at 707 and career digs per game average at 2.30, a record that still stands 25 years later. He also contributed as a sophomore to the Waves winning the 1992 NCAA championship.

After his college career, Blanton transitioned to beach volleyball and won the gold medal at the 2000 Olympics.

Naming the diversity award after a former standout player was done in effort to preserve and honor the sport’s history.

The Dain Blanton Diversity Award is one of several end of season awards that Off the Block annually presents. Among the other national awards includes the Lloy Ball Award to the nation’s top setter, the Karch Kiraly Award to the nation’s top outside attacker, the Bryan Ivie Award to the nation’s top opposite, the Erik Shoji Award to the nation’s top libero and the Ryan Millar Award to the nation’s top middle attacker.

Off the Block will announce the finalists for the inaugural Dain Blanton Diversity Award on Sunday evening.

The top-three vote-getters from the nationwide voting committee will be selected as the finalists. The award winner will be unveiled on Friday as part of its College Men’s Volleyball National Awards Presentation.

Off the Block is a national award winning website that launched in 2011 and is the nation’s leader in college men’s volleyball coverage.

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