Mark is one of the most successful coaches in recent years in England and a highly experienced sports manager. He is responsible for all aspects of SideOut’s business and also leads its Athlete Management Division.

 

COACHING  

 

Mark started his coaching career as a 1st year law student at the University of Kent and he quickly progressed to become Head Coach of the women’s team and then Player-Coach on the men’s team in his final year. After completing his Master’s degree in 2003, he briefly moved to the USA to coach one season at Western New Mexico University before he returned to England and moved to London. There, he became Head Coach of the University of London Union (ULU) women’s team in 2004, leading the team to a record 5 consecutive London Premier League championships, 3 undefeated seasons, 2 British Universities Championships, 1 National Cup title (the first non-National League team in history to win this title), 4 Beach Volleyball Student Cup titles and participation in two European University Championships (1 beach and 1 indoor).

 

In 2009, Mark became Head Coach for Polonia Ladies Volleyball Club and immediately led the club to its first ever National Cup title. The following season, he led the team to its first ever Super 8 title and topped this off by winning another National Cup and completing the 2011 season ‘double’. He currently continues to be Head Coach at Polonia and the club's first team (which is now known as Polonia SideOut London) and he has led the team to top-2 finishes in every season since 2009, including another National Cup title in 2016. His other coaching experience includes being Head Coach of the England Junior Boys National Beach Volleyball Teams, Head Coach of the UK Civil Service men’s and women’s teams, Assistant Coach of the England Junior Girls’ National Team and coach for several of the top-ranked beach volleyball players in England.

SPORTS LAW & MANAGEMENT

Mark is also a practising corporate/commercial lawyer and has lectured in Sports Law at the University of Kent. He has represented and successfully negotiated contracts for a number of professional athletes all over Europe. He was President of the English Volleyball Association’s Beach Commission from 2004 to 2012 with responsibility for all aspects of beach volleyball in England, while he was also member of the Sport Management Group for volleyball at BUCS (British Universities and Colleges Sport) for 5 years.

 

His extensive event management experience has seen him work at 2 Olympic Games (Athens 2004 and London 2012), serve as Competition Director at the 2008 Beach Volleyball Junior World Championships in Brighton, work in different roles at over a dozen international volleyball and beach volleyball events and act as Tournament Director in over 100 indoor and beach volleyball tournaments since 2001.

PLAYING CAREER

Mark began his playing career in Athens, Greece with his local club team Evryali VC and his high school team in the suburb of Glyfada. His highlights included 3 first place finishes in the Local Championships, a 1st place in the Regional Championships and qualification to the National Junior Championships. He also participated in several beach volleyball competitions, winning one event on the Greek Junior National Tour and finishing in 5th place in the Junior National Championships.

In 1998, Mark moved to England to study law at the University of Kent. He competed for the university's men’s team and, over his 5 years there, he played a key role in the team’s unprecedented success in the British Universities Championships and in the local leagues, while he also won ‘Sportsman of the Year’ honours at the university. He was selected to the England Junior Men’s National Team in 1998-1999 and participated in the European Championships in 1999. He was also selected to the English Universities volleyball team in 2003 and he trained with the England U-21 and U-23 beach volleyball teams while continuing to compete in several beach volleyball events.

MARK KONTOPOULOS

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