Tyler Jackson was in the middle of an interview early last Saturday morning, standing off to the side of the Long Beach State sand courts where she became the school’s all-time beach wins leader a few short years ago. Jackson, now an assistant coach at LBCC, was beckoned by her boss, Vikings head coach Misty May-Treanor.
The duo were competing as an exhibition pair for the Vikings, since junior colleges only compete with five pairs and the NCAA schools they were playing on Saturday include a sixth pair that doesn’t count on the official score.
“Come on Ty it’s the only time I get to exercise, I haven’t exercised all week,” said May-Treanor, running a gold medal-caliber guilt trip.
“Gosh, I love her,” said Jackson. “Alright, here we go.”
The Lakewood and Long Beach State alum’s schedule is pretty full, these days. Jackson is the top assistant at LBCC for May-Treanor’s indoor women’s team and beach team, handling a lot of the coordination for new recruits as well as current student-athletes. She also serves as an assistant coach for the Lakewood boys’ volleyball team, and coaches club teams for Mizuno.
“The day starts at 7 a.m. lifting weights with LBCC then we’re on the beach for a few hours,” said Jackson. “Then a few hours in the office, then Lakewood after that and then club practices after that. It’s overwhelming but I love it, I’m blessed.”
Jackson’s teams are all heading towards historic success, too. The Vikings beach team is ranked tops in the state and is the overwhelming favorite to win a conference title at Granada Beach this Friday at 9 a.m. The Lancers’ boys’ team is ranked No. 1 in CIF and could become the first Lakewood team to win a CIF Southern Section title since the school’s baseball team did it in 2006.
“Tyler is a great coach and a great person,” said May-Treanor. “I’m so fortunate to have nabbed her—she has a heart of gold, she really wants everyone to be successful.”
May-Treanor believes in her assistant so much that she actually put something else on her plate, convincing her to enroll in a Master’s program this spring.
“I told her she’s got to get it, because I think she could coach at any level she wants to,” said May-Treanor.
Because she comes from a working-class family, and because she played NCAA indoor and beach volleyball Jackson is able to relate to basically any recruit or high school player she comes across.
“She has a different background and a different life experience,” said May-Treanor. “We all bring something different as coaches, and you’ll see a lot of girls turn to Tyler first with a problem.”
She’s also familiar with the ups and downs of the student-athlete experience. While at Lakewood, Jackson had offers from schools like Texas and UCLA but didn’t qualify academically, a big part of how she ended up as a four-year starter at Long Beach State, crossing paths with the Olympian mentor she now works for.
“Now that I look back, everything was meant to be,” she said. “I’m in the perfect place.”