Dr. Casey Wood’s Passion for Volleyball Set in Motion a Transformative Career Change

Never too late.

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  • Written & photographed by
    Kat Monk

For Casey Wood, starting El Camino Community College at age 28 proved to be a pivotal and life-changing experience. Not only did he earn a doctorate in chiropractic science, Casey also became head coach of the men’s indoor volleyball team at El Camino. He teaches kinesiology and manages his own full-service chiropractic office in South Redondo’s Riviera Village.

Casey started life in Palos Verdes, but his parents’ divorce set off a series of moves during his high school years. He played volleyball in high school, though inconsistently with the changing of schools.

When Casey was 18, his 16-year-old sister became pregnant. Although he had just started classes at Pierce College in Woodland Hills, he chose to move closer to the South Bay to help his sister raise her daughter for the next three years. After supporting himself for a while working in the beverage industry, working as a personal trainer and coaching club-level volleyball, he was ready for something different.

Approaching 30 and looking for a fresh start, he decided to go back to college—an experience that opened his mind to different opportunities for the future. “El Camino offered the South Bay promise: free tuition if you transfer within two years,” he shares. Plus, at 6 feet, 4 inches tall, he could play volleyball, receive a scholarship to a four-year university and earn his bachelor’s degree.

“Beach volleyball is a great source of fulfillment for me. Every week I get to go be competitive and physically active with lifelong friends and family through a sport that means so much to the South Bay.”

While at El Camino, Casey helped make history in 2015 during what was referred to as a “dream season.” For the first time since 1986, El Camino made it to the California State Championships. Though the team eventually lost to Santa Monica, Casey led the match with 15 kills.

“It was a great thing Casey did, and it wasn’t easy,” remembers Tina Griebenow, mother of Chris Griebenow, who also played on the El Camino men’s volleyball team. “It was unusual to go back to college at his age, but he was a mentor to all the young men on the team and played a huge part in their success.”

After El Camino, Casey received his degree in kinesiology—the study of body movement—while playing volleyball at Missouri Valley College on a scholarship. “We set school history as the first men’s volleyball team to go to a national tournament, and we finished sixth in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics,” he says.

Casey’s doctorate is in chiropractic science. “Its goal is to help people manage their pain and live a quality life in a conservative manner,” he says, referring to pain treatment without the use of medications such as highly addictive opioids.

Combining a knowledge of kinesiology, years of experience coaching volleyball and extensive experience with personal training, Casey offers his patients more than a back crack before sending them on their way. His patients learn functional habits that can be introduced into their daily lives to proactively avoid pain or injury.

“It has been amazing to follow Casey’s journey,” says Mary Boice, administrator of the Southern California Volleyball Club. “Once Casey set his goals, his commit-ment and perseverance were impressive, to say the least. He’s proven to be a wonderful role model for our SCVC players.”

Having opened his practice only a few years ago, Casey was initially hesitant about taking the head coaching job at El Camino. “I was so impressed with the education and opportunities I received at El Camino; I felt in my heart that taking the coaching job was the right thing to do,” he explains.

As coaches are also required to teach, Casey added kinesiology professor to his extensive resume. “His knowledge and experience have opened up all kinds of opportunities for him and proved it is never too late to go after your dreams,” adds Tina.

Unlike four-year universities, many community colleges don’t have strength and conditioning coaches. But Casey took on that responsibility for his players too. Learning proper technique can increase performance and prevent injuries.

Despite a busy schedule, Casey still finds time to play beach volleyball and fit in the occasional 4-man tournaments on the weekend. “Beach volleyball is a great source of fulfillment for me,” he says. “Every week I get to go be competitive and physically active with lifelong friends and family through a sport that means so much to the South Bay.”

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