The Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (EIVA) will have three new members inducted into its Hall of Fame, with a New Jersey connection for each of them. Set to be honored are Doug Emich, Ron Larsen and Tarik Rodgers. The trio will be recognized during the EIVA Championship match on April 20, 2019, at the home of the tournament’s top seed and regular-season champion.
In its 47th season, the EIVA is honoring its eighth Hall of Fame class, inducting those who helped build the conference and those who were standouts on the court or on the bench. Rodgers was a four-year starter and 1996 graduate of the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), while Emich was a two-year starter for Rutgers-Newark, and Larsen coached the Scarlet Raiders for seven seasons.
“It’s more than coincidence that this year’s inductees all made their ECVL/EIVA marks in Newark,” EIVA President Ron Shayka said. “From the late 1970s through the 1990s Doug, Ron and Tarik led strong Rutgers and NJIT teams. Like many of our previous inductees, all three continued to advance the game of volleyball beyond their impressive collegiate careers.”
Rodgers is considered one of the greatest men’s volleyball players in NJIT’s program history, as a four-year starter, two-time EIVA All-Tournament Team selection, the Most Valuable Player of the 1995 EIVA Division III Championship, the 1995 Asics Small College Player of the Year and a 2010 inductee into the NJIT Athletic Hall of Fame.
Rodgers was team captain his final two seasons for the Highlanders, twice finished in the top 10 in the nation in all divisions in blocks, and also was top 10 in hitting percentage. A gifted athlete with minimal volleyball training as a youth growing up in Chicago and around Newark, N.J., Rodgers blossomed under the guidance of coach Dave DeNure, a 2018 EIVA Hall of Fame inductee, and Rodgers continued to play club volleyball through 2018.
Emich played at Rutgers-Newark during the 1978-79 seasons, a starter both years for the champions of the Eastern Collegiate Volleyball League (the forerunner of the EIVA). The Scarlet Raiders advanced to the NCAA semifinals both seasons, part of a run of four straight national semifinal appearances.
Emich left school after the 1979 season for Colorado Springs, Colo., to train with the U.S. national program with contemporary college stars Karch Kiraly, Steve Timmons and Dusty Dvorak, and was a potential member of the 1980 Olympic team until the U.S. declared a boycott of the summer games in Moscow.
At Rutgers-Newark, Larsen posted a 103-88 record from 1993-99, while also recording a 122-96 record guiding the Scarlet Raiders women’s program. While in Newark, Larsen also served as EIVA commissioner for six years, and in 1998 he was the EIVA Coach of the Year. The 1973 graduate of Brigham Young has served as either an assistant or head coach at numerous college programs and has spent many years with various USA Volleyball programs, including two appearances in the Olympics.
The pinnacle of Larsen’s career came in Beijing, China, in 2008, after he left the Rutgers-Newark sideline. Larsen was an assistant coach for the U.S. men’s national team at the Summer Olympics, and took over as interim head coach for the beginning of the tournament after a family tragedy drew Hugh McCutcheon away from the team. Team USA went on to capture the gold medal. He remains a resident coach for the U.S. men, and is currently a coach with the Prime Volleyball Club in Mission Viejo, Calif.
More about the lives and careers of the three men will be featured in stories on eivavolleyball.com in the weeks leading up to the conference tournament semifinals on April 18.