Livingstone Treumann’s career in volleyball began with a lie, and 10 years’ worth of garbage.
The former came when he was a kid. Second or third grade, he can’t remember exactly, though he thinks he was in third. A native of Brazil, Treumann was recommended by his gym teachers to try out for the handball, indoor soccer or volleyball teams. But this was 1992, the year Brazil had won the gold medal at the Barcelona Olympic Games.
“That’s when (volleyball) took off in Brazil,” Treumann said on SANDCAST: Beach volleyball with Tri Bourne and Travis Mewhirter. “It was a huge thing. Volleyball became the greatest thing.
If Treumann had a shot at volleyball, he was taking it. He made the practice team, and for a few weeks served as what he calls the “backup to the backup setter.”
When the first tournament approached, the coach told the team he’d call the ones who made the tournament team on Friday night. Treumann never got that call.
So he lied.
Hasn’t told his parents about it to this day, either. Treumann told them that he got the call from coach. Had to report the next day at the school. His parents didn’t know any different. He’d been practicing for weeks, after all.
The coach, of course, was shocked when he saw Treumann trundle into the gym.
“He didn’t say ‘What are you doing here?’ but he had this confused look, like ‘Why? Did I forget that I called you?’ ” Treumann recalled, laughing. “So he handed me a jersey and I was like ‘Dude I’m in! I’m good!’”
More than metaphorically in — he was literally going in. On the first play of the match, the starting setter broke his arm.
Who else could the coach turn to but that pesky rascal, Treumann, the one who showed up unannounced?
“I go into this rotation with the really good middle hitter and the really good outside and I was pushing balls to the outside and I ended up making the team,” he said.
From there, volleyball became the focal point of Treumann’s life. When his father was transferred to work in the United States, moving the family to Florida, Treumann would spend his days at the Wet n’ Wild Water Park — since closed — where he and his Brazilian buddies would play beach volleyball all day long.
When he graduated from high school, the notion of college didn’t appeal to him much — but returning to Brazil to train full-time and “live the glorious life of trying to qualify on the Brazilian Tour” did.
He moved back, near Salvador, Brazil, hometown of Ricardo Santos, and trained full-time, preparing for the FIVB’s first U-21 World Championships. He trained with some of the best players in the world. Beat up on a new kid at Central Florida named Phil Dalhausser when he would return to the United States. He was having the time of his life.
He also realized, as some do in their early 20s but many do not, that he was limited. He wasn’t going to be pulling the 6-foot-10 blockers. When he asked Dalhausser to run a tournament with him one weekend, Dalhausser politely declined, saying that he had already committed to his buddy, Nick.
Tough to argue his decision now.
“I made the decision that I was going to focus on my career so I could focus on my family,” Treumann said. “I ended up settling back here in the United States.”
The lie got him to that point.
Then the garbage phase began.
He had the option to head out to California with his buddy, Pedro Leal, a fellow Brazilian who was competing for Pierce College. Treumann had set up a slapdash recruiting network, bringing Brazilian athletes to the United States. He could have continued doing that in Santa Monica with Leal.
“I was looking at their apartment, which was cool, but there was like eight guys living there and beer bottles everywhere and how expensive things were,” Treumann said. “I said I’m just going to shift gears in my life. I ended up getting into the garbage business and spent 10 years with them on the highway to financial success and corporate security.”
It’s amazing, the parallels you can draw between two seemingly dichotomous industries. But Treumann has found quite a few between his days managing upwards of 400 individuals in the garbage business to where he is now, coaching some of the best beach volleyball players in the country.
“Some of the drivers had been driving for as long as I’ve been alive. I had to build a rapport and communicate with them and listen to them which is the same position I found myself last year when I was running a practice with (Sean Rosenthal),” Treumann said. “I’m running a practice with a guy who has been No. 1 in the world for three years, has been playing for 22 years, what kind of value am I going to bring to practice? Being able to communicate, show that I understand him, planning things out, and making sure he’s on track with whatever the plan is, those are some of the lessons I learned.
“Being able to communicate, being a straight shooter, letting them know what they’re going through and what a tough day it is, but still holding them accountable to perform because that’s their job. And it’s the same thing I apply to practice. Practices are tough. We do a lot of repetitions but guess what? You’re coming to practice to get better, and I want to make sure that you do get better.”
You may be wondering how Treumann was able to transition from garbage in 2014 to coaching the top beach volleyball talent in the world by 2020. It’s a fair question.
He had coached juniors for a bit, working a few clinics, growing his network. When he took his family on a cross-country road trip to California, in the summer of 2019, so his 11-year-old daughter could compete in all of the summer tournaments on the West Coast, he ran into Bill Kolinske, whom he had met years prior, on the Hermosa Strand.
Kolinske’s usual coach, Evie Matthews, was on the FIVB with Kelley Larsen (now Kelley Kolinske) and Emily Stockman. Bill wondered if Treumann — known to everyone in the beach volleyball world as LT — could coach him for a few sessions, get him ready for the AVP Manhattan Beach Open, which would be his first event back after a two-year hiatus from the tour.
Treumann led Kolinske and his new young partner, Eric Beranek, through two practices. Seeded eighth in the qualifier, they emerged to take third in the biggest tournament of the year — career high finishes for all three.
Welcome to California, LT.
Treumann’s coaching influence exploded. He turned third street in Hermosa Beach into a de facto training center for 90 percent of the best athletes on the AVP — Kolinske, Beranek, Andy Benesh, Casey Patterson, Troy Field, Chase Budinger, Ryan Doherty, Miles Evans, Mark Burik, Miles Partain, Ty Loomis, Avery Drost, Chase Frishman.
The list goes on. Treumann brought the structured, repetition-based Brazilian style to third street, which quickly became the most popular preseason training grounds prior to Covid changing the season.
With nothing happening in California, Treumann returned to Florida, with his precocious and promising new team of Beranek and Benesh. He bought Bevolley Academy in St. Petersburg, Fla., and will be there, with Beranek and Benesh for the next three months, training and competing every weekend.
Then he’ll be back, returning to third street in late October to begin a rigorous pre-season training for the — hopefully — 2021 season.
No more lies. No more garbage.
Just beach volleyball.