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Why did Misty May-Treanor take a coaching position at Long Beach City College?

July 2, 2016 GMT

The biggest question circling around the city last week after theblockbuster announcementthat Misty May-Treanor was going to be coaching at Long Beach City College was also one of the shortest questions possible: Why?

Why was a three-time Olympic gold medalist, the most famous female volleyball player of at least her generation (and possibly of all time) going to start coaching at a local junior college?

May-Treanor’s response to that question was the same as her response to much in life: she laughed.

“A lot of people want to coach in the NCAA, I’ve always wanted to coach at the community college level,” she said. “I love working with those athletes, both my parents coached at Santa Monica Community College when I was growing up. That’s what I was raised around.”

Her parents’ experience didn’t just give May-Treanor familiarity, though — it also gave her an understanding of the unique relationships forged at the JC level. Athletes are still young adults, in a transitional place both athletically and in their personal life.

“Throughout my whole career I’d be at tournaments and I’d see the players my parents coached, who came out to support me,” she said. “Those relationships are special.”

So, that’s the why — as for the mechanics of how she got the job, there’s really not much of a story. The last big-name headline-grabbing coaching hire in town was George Allen, the Super Bowl champion who was a shock hire by struggling Long Beach State in 1991, prompting newspapers and magazines across the nation to question Allen’s decision.

When Allen was hired, it was the result of months of courting by Long Beach State, with several meetings in local hotels and negotiations back and forth. In the case of May-Treanor and LBCC, the Olympian said she just applied for the job when she saw it was open, and things progressed normally from there.

“I said, ‘Okay, here’s my chance,’” said May-Treanor. “I’m sure many professional athletes can relate to this, but the last time I had to write a resume was a college class I took to make sure I knew how to do a resume and a cover letter.”

“It was probably the most nerve-wracking thing I’ve gone through, the interview process,” she said. “I was honored to even get the opportunity to interview.”

For May-Treanor, the post-playing career has always been about raising a family and coaching. Getting the job at LBCC means that she can keep her family local and work just down the street from the East Long Beach house she and her husband Matt live in, along with their daughter.

“It’s Long Beach, that’s what excites me,” she said. “I get to be at home in a city that I love, working for a college that’s on the upswing, hopefully opening doors for the kids here.”

The work will be heavy, as May-Treanor’s role as director of volleyball will see her coaching the women’s team, coaching and creating a brand new beach team, and overseeing the defending state champion men’s team. She’ll have to recruit players, hire a staff, get facilities set up for the beach team, start making schedules, and all the other minutia that comes with running a program.

“It’s going to be an uphill climb, but that’s the process,” she said. “When Kerri and I first started playing together it was the same thing, doing the work to get things going.”

What’s exciting for Totorp and the other coaches in Viking-land is May-Treanor doesn’t just want to help with the volleyball program.

“Of course that will be my focus, but I want to be involved and help the other programs however I can, and help put LBCC back on the map,” she said. “LBCC is on an upswing and I want to be a part of that across the board.”

May-Treanor has one more week to enjoy unemployment—she’ll officially begin what she hopes will be a lengthy tenure with the school right after the July 4 break.

“I don’t know how often this happens, but it’s my first full-time job,” she said with a laugh. “I’m only 38.”