3-Time Gold Medalist Misty May-Treanor Coaches for LBCC

By: 
Kelley Pierce

Misty May-Treanor has become a household name, whether it be from her three Olympic gold medals, her stint on the television show Dancing with the Stars, or her title of the most successful female beach volleyball player as of 2012. She is now also a prominent figure in Long Beach, having accepted the position of director of volleyball at Long Beach City College. On Feb. 8, May-Treanor spoke at the Rotary Club of Long Beach’s meeting, describing the life events leading up to her becoming a coach.

May-Treanor is a Southern California native. She grew up in Santa Monica, attended high school in Orange County and eventually attended California State University, Long Beach. Because of her huge accomplishments in high school volleyball, including being named the best high school girls’ volleyball player in the nation, colleges across the country bid for her attendance. She remarked that she chose CSULB because “when I stepped on the campus I felt at home. It was the right fit for me.”

As captain of the team in 1998, she led the CSULB 49ers to earn the title of the first women’s NCAA volleyball team to have an undefeated season. After graduating with a B.A. in Kinesiology and Fitness, she joined the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball team, though she left a few months later.

“I think I just got burned out from being a part of a large team and the coaching politics. I started to lose that fire,” said May-Treanor. She decided to pursue a career in beach volleyball, teaming up with Holly McPeak. The two went on to compete in the 2000 Sydney Olympic games, placing fifth.

In 2001, May-Treanor paired up with Kerri Walsh, who was also new to the game. When asked why their partnership worked so well, May-Treanor replied, “We’re totally different personalities. We balance each other out quite a bit. Our skills complement each other. That’s what makes us so strong.”

The unbeatable pair went on to dominate at the 2004 Athens Olympics. Without losing a single set in all seven matches, the team brought home the gold medal. They continued their winning streak at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, becoming the only beach volleyball team to repeat as gold medalists.

In the 2012 London Olympics, the pair was not favored to win, as May-Treanor had recently suffered from an Achilles tendon injury and the two had not played together for some time. They decided to enjoy themselves, as May-Treanor stated that she knew it was her last Olympics game. They ended up becoming gold medalists for the third time.

After several injuries, including hurting herself during a Dancing with the Stars training session, May-Treanor knew it was time to end her professional career as an athlete. She applied to coach at Long Beach City College. She asked herself, “Where can I impact the athletes most and help the city?” and decided it was at the community college level. Her goal is to turn the program around by “creating a new culture.”

Her most important objective for her team is to teach them the meaning of work. She considers herself their mentor. She maintains strict rules, stating that if a player is one minute late, they are not allowed to play in the game. Another of her team rules is that teammates must always “make the player next to them better.” She wants to instill that “you’re nothing without the team behind you.”

Though she admits that her coaching style is intense, she says, “It’s my goal to push them beyond their limits, to break that barrier.”

May-Treanor has high hopes for the future of the volleyball program at LBCC, but is currently focusing on developing the program and allowing the players to enjoy themselves.

kelley@beachcomber.news

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