Former Olympian brings her talents to coach at LBCC

Story and photo by Donavin Morris

In the huddle, coach May-Treanor goes over the game plan with her players in their match against the EL Camino Warriors.

Correction: December 8, 2018 4:35 a.m. A correction was made to a detail in the first paragraph to properly reflect the number of times May-Treanor won a gold medal in the Olympics.

After retiring in 2012, and getting inducted into the Volleyball Hall of Fame in 2016, three time Olympic gold medalist Misty May-Treanor decided to share her knowledge of volleyball by joining Long Beach City College as the directory of volleyball operations.  

Ever since May-Treanor first joined the Vikings, she always had her eyes on improving the volleyball program and recently had a dominating season as coach of the women’s team, earning a record of 22-4 in 2018.

“I knew people who were from Long Beach and went to LBCC and then they transferred to a four year university. My goal was to put this program back the map because I knew it has been in a hole and that’s what the challenge is,” said May-Treanor.

There are players who came from Riverside just to be on her team.

Abeni Williams is an example of that, “I came from RCC (Riverside Community College) and I’m a big fan! Misty as a coach is very helpful and it is an honor for her to be my coach,” said Williams.

Williams believes that May-Treanor can get her to a bigger school for volleyball.

“My goal in volleyball is to get better and hopefully play for a bigger school, I believe that Misty will get me there,” said Williams.

May-Treanor finds coaching for LBCC to be rewarding but also bitter sweet at times during the seasons.

“It’s frustrating that they we only have them for two years, but the rewarding part is that we can see them off to a bigger college or just see that they”ve bettered themselves. I wouldn’t had taken this job if it wasn’t rewarding,” said May-Treanor.

May-Treanor-Treanor grew up in Santa Monica and attended Newport Beach High School where she was was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame in 2014.

Butch May, May-Treanor’s father, was a volleyball Olympian in the 1968 Olympics and her mother, Barbara May, was a tennis player.

May helped her throughout her volleyball career, not by being controlling, but rather assisting her in the right direction, “I just tried to make sure she didn’t play the game wrong,” said May.

May-Treanor has always been a resilient athlete who never gave up at any cost.

In late 2008 May-Treanor ruptured her achilles tendon while practicing for Dancing with the Stars, which kept her out of competition for about a year, but she was still able to bounce back and in her last Olympics at London, she was able to take home her third Olympic gold medal.   

The biggest adversities May-Treanor has ever had to overcome were her injuries in her professional career and her mother passing away due to cancer in 2002, “It made me stronger, and more hungry to keep moving forward,” said May-Treanor-Treanor.

According to her father, for the 2004, 2008, and 2012 Olympics, May-Treanor spread her mother’s ashes on the court so it would be like she was playing on sacred ground.

Her father also said of her that May-Treanor has always had a soft spot in her heart for inspiring people who are disabled, “Along the way she met people who were physically broken, she gave her gold medal to a disabled kid after she won the Olympics,” said May.

May-Treanor’s husband, Matt Treanor, felt like she taught him a lot about being an athlete, “She taught me a lot, it’s great when you can talk to somebody who knows the life of an athlete and understands the grind,” said Treanor.

Treanor returns the favor to May-Treanor at home by helping out with their three daughters when she is at practice.

“We are a team and we live off of coffee,” said Treanor.

May-Treanor will return next semester to lead the volleyball program for its spring competitions.