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Long Beach Poly Volleyball

Long Beach Poly Hires Wilson’s Gerald Aquiningoc As New Volleyball Coach

The562’s coverage of Long Beach Volleyball in the 2022-23 school year is sponsored by Misty May-Treanor and the Dream in Gold Foundation.

The562’s coverage of Long Beach Poly athletics in the 2022-23 school year is sponsored by Poly alum Jayon Brown and PlayFair Sports Management. 

The562’s coverage of Long Beach Poly athletics in the 2022-23 school year is sponsored by JuJu Smith-Schuster and the JuJu Foundation.

The Long Beach Poly girls’ volleyball team has a new head coach–but he’s a familiar face. The Jackrabbits’ administration confirmed that the program will be led by Gerald Aquiningoc, who’s been in the Moore League the last two seasons as Wilson’s head coach, both indoor and on the beach team.

“He came in ready with a plan and every question we had for him he was able to answer and have a solution,” said Poly girls’ athletic director Crystal Irving. “We were very impressed with the way he’s handled hard situations that have come up in his career. He’s confident. He’s going to keep two of our coaches and he’s bringing his coaches–it’ll all work hand in hand. As a whole the program is going to be getting better and better.”

For Aquiningoc, the decision to leave Wilson where he’s had success was difficult, but he said the chance to coach at Poly was too good to turn down.

“I feel amazing, I’m excited, I feel like a kid on his first day of school, I just can’t believe it,” he said.

Aquiningoc will replace Megan Moenoa, who departed the Jackrabbits program recently to take a position coaching at USC. Poly has been big on talent but has struggled with injuries in recent years. They return several key Moore League talents including Halie McGinest and Taylor Mercado, along with a host of varsity-experienced players.

Aquiningoc said that when Moenoa announced she was leaving for USC, Poly parents at beach volleyball contests began asking him about whether he’d be interested. He said he had applied to Poly before getting the job at Wilson and hadn’t gotten an interview, so he wasn’t optimistic about his prospects.

“I figured I didn’t get an interview then, so why would I now?” he said. “But I said hey, let me shoot my shot. I had a great interview and they were able to answer a lot of my questions and make me feel great about it. It was hard. I honestly say I love Wilson and the support I got there and the relationships I developed.”

Aquiningoc has had success at Wilson, building a title-competing team with no drama and a great culture; he was also the coach of Wilson’s Moore League co-champion beach volleyball team this Spring, as well as an assistant coach with the LBCC men’s volleyball team, and the club director with the Long Beach Volleyball Club.

He said it was difficult telling the Bruin team that he was leaving for a league rival.

“I expressed my gratitude to them, thanking for allowing me to come in and be a part of my volleyball journey,” he said. “Thanking them for accepting me and being coachable. And I let them know I’ll always be a resource for them.”

A year-round hustler, Aquiningoc’s combination of work ethic, technical knowledge, and positive attitude have made him a fast favorite in the Long Beach volleyball world.

Prior to taking the job at Wilson, Aquiningoc coached at his alma mater Carson High School from 2010-19 and won a pair of CIF Championships in boys’ volleyball in 2014 and 2019. He also led the Colts to the State Regional final in 2019 and won CIF LA City Section Coach of the Year honors in Division I that year.

As a girls’ volleyball coach, Aquiningioc led San Pedro High to a Division I CIF title in 2018, also claiming Coach of the Year honors after that season.

Aquiningoc said as much as he enjoyed coaching at Wilson, he had to jump at the chance to move to Poly.

“It’s a nationally known school,” he said. “I lived in Kansas City in 1995 and when they found out I’m from California one of my friends asked, ‘Do you know Long Beach Poly?’ That’s how it is. It’s a national school. I walked in the 100 building and see all the retired jerseys and you just realize man, I’m here. It’s a different feeling.”

In addition to the prestige of the school, Aquiningoc said he’s excited to coach the specific group of girls at the school now.

“Every time my staff would see them you’re like I’d love the opportunity to coach athletes like that,” he said. “Love a chance to see what we can do with my system and my staff–would just love to try. The amount of talent and athleticism that’s there, it’s exciting. There’s an expectation that you win at that school, and that makes me even more excited.”

Mike Guardabascio
An LBC native, Mike Guardabascio has been covering Long Beach sports professionally for 13 years, with his work published in dozens of Southern California magazines and newspapers. He's won numerous awards for his writing as well as the CIF Southern Section’s Champion For Character Award, and is the author of three books about Long Beach history.