Long Beach Poly has hired Lakewood legend Megan Moenoa to be the school’s new girls’ volleyball coach. Moenoa has been an assistant coach at UC Irvine for the last five years. She helped lead Lakewood to the school’s first-ever team state championship as a freshman setter, then won a national title as a player at UCLA before moving into coaching after graduation.
“I got into coaching because I wanted to coach in Long Beach,” said Moenoa. “In coming back I had always said that Long Beach Poly was the job that I wanted, out of college I said that I wanted that job. I enjoyed coaching in college but with all the COVID-19 shutdowns and the Black Lives Matter protests–if that’s not making you rethink your life, I don’t think you’re paying attention. It was a perfect storm for me, the job opening and these events making me rethink my life and my place. Being with the kids and coaching in Long Beach is what I’m passionate about.”
Moenoa not only has an outstanding career as a player and college experience as a coach, she’s also heavily involved in the club scene, where she owns Mizuno Long Beach’s local Long Beach Volleyball Club. She said she has deep ties at Poly because most of her family went to school there, and that she’s planning on bringing an alum back to be an assistant in Cynthia Buggs, a Poly volleyball alum who played at Tennessee and Long Beach State, and who’s the daughter of legendary Poly basketball coaches Carl and Lakeisha Buggs.
Moenoa takes over for Leland McGrath, who departed the program a few weeks ago in order to have more time with his family. The program she inherits is packed with talent, including All-American junior setter/outside hitter Adonia Faumuina, ranked as one of the top five players in the 2022 class, and middle blocker Rylie McGinest. The Jackrabbits also have a talented group of incoming freshmen.
“I’m excited,” said Moenoa. “I want to see that talent rise to the challenge. It’s nice to walk in with talent, that’s a good starting point–I want to help them get to that next level.”
The hire will also help deepen the rivalry between Poly and Lakewood, two legitimate Division 1 programs who’ve had some epic battles over the last several years and who’ve won every Moore League title between them since 2012. Moenoa played and won the state title at Lakewood with current Lancers coach Mike Wadley.
“It’s definitely going to be a little personal when we play,” she said. “It will be surreal to be on the other side from him. Mike has done so much for me personally and more than anything, he really taught me how to be a leader and think for myself. It’s all love. I’ll always root for Mike and Lakewood as long as we’re not playing for them.”
For Wadley, he’s become a central branch on a Long Beach volleyball coaching tree as he prepares to enter his 17th season coaching the Lancers. His alums will be coaching rival Poly, the LBCC women’s team (Tyler Jackson), and as assistants at six different Division 1 NCAA programs.
“Yeah I guess I’m getting old,” said Wadley with a laugh. “I’m happy for Megan and it’s good for the league, it’s good for Poly for sure. I wrote a letter of recommendation for her–it’s going to be weird. She’s always been a Long Beach kid and wanted to give back to the city, you have to admire that. But I’m glad I haven’t taught her everything I know yet.”
Moenoa has begun working on her teaching credential but will be a walk-on coach in the short-term, although she said she plans to be in it for the long haul.
“This isn’t a short-term commitment for me,” she said. “I want to really give back and make a difference in my community.”