Longtime Long Beach Poly girls’ volleyball coach Leland McGrath confirmed he is stepping down as coach of the Jackrabbits after 13 years.
McGrath’s Jackrabbits won the CIF Southern Section Division 1 championship in 2010 and won six Moore League championships. He leaves a Poly team that is absolutely packed with talent next year, headlined by star recruits Adonia Faumuina and Rylie McGinest among many others.
McGrath said the decision came as a result of needing to spend more time focusing on his family after his mother passed away from cancer recently.
“The last five years my mom has been dealing with chemo and radiation and remission,” he said. “She was getting really bad as the pandemic was hitting–we were lucky to be able to get her out of the facility so we could be with her in her last few weeks. My mom has watched our kids all these years to let me go coach, and it’s been really rough on our daughters, so I’m going to focus on them.”
McGrath said that the fact that his team has so much returning talent, as well as a stellar incoming freshman class, made it easier for him to step away.
“We’ve got 16 girls playing college volleyball right now, the program is at a really high level, and we’ve got the best freshman class in the country coming in,” he said. “There’s no better time because it will be really easy for them to attract a good coach that can jump on with a bunch of talent. We’re super loaded.”
McGrath, who is a teacher on campus at Poly, said he hopes to remain an asset to the program as far as getting scholarship opportunities for players. Because he played overseas and on the beach for several years, he has a developed network with college coaches across the country and has been a big part of Poly’s success placing most of its seniors at the next level.