Misty May-Treanor

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Misty May-Treanor
Misty May-Treanor.jpg
May-Treanor in 2007
Personal information
Full name Misty Elizabeth May-Treanor
Nickname The Turtle
Nationality  United States
Born (1977-07-30) July 30, 1977 (age 38)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Height 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Weight 72kg(159 lbs)
Beach volleyball information
Previous teammates
Years Teammate
Kerri Walsh
Kerri Walsh
Holly McPeak

Misty Elizabeth May-Treanor (born July 30, 1977) is a retired American professional beach volleyball player. She is a three-time Olympic gold medalist, and as of August 2012 the most successful female beach volleyball player with 112 individual championship wins in domestic and international competition.[1]

Misty May-Treanor and teammate Kerri Walsh Jennings were the gold medalists in beach volleyball at the 2004, 2008, and 2012 Summer Olympics. Together, May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings are considered the greatest beach volleyball team of all time. May-Treanor retired from competitive play on August 8, 2012 after she and Walsh Jennings finished first in the 2012 Summer Olympic games; they defeated the United States team of Jennifer Kessy and April Ross in the gold medal match.[2][3]

Early life[edit]

Misty May was born in Los Angeles, California in 1977 to Barbara (née Grubb), a nationally ranked tennis player, and Butch May, a member of the 1968 United States men's national volleyball team. She has a brother, Brack, who is a chef and featured on an episode of Chopped on the Food Network. Her mother's sister was Betty Ann Grubb Stuart, a professional tennis player, and May's cousin is Taylor Dent.[4] She grew up playing beach volleyball at the Santa Monica Pier with her parents, and played in her first volleyball tournament at age eight with her father. She was baby-sat by Karch Kiraly.[5] May-Treanor also played soccer and tennis, as well as participating in dance. She attended primary school at Brightwood Elementary School in Monterey Park and Roosevelt Elementary School in Santa Monica.

May-Treanor's childhood was unstable — in her autobiography, she wrote that from the age of 4 to 15, her parents were alcoholics, which forced her to stay with her grandparents. Her mother became violent when drunk.[5] Her father sobered up in 1988 after an accident that nearly killed a motorcyclist.[5] During the times when her parents drink, May-Treanor would be left by herself and played video games in bars.[5]

High school[edit]

During high school, May-Treanor lived in Costa Mesa, California [6] and attended Newport Harbor High School from 1991 through 1995.[7] There, she helped her team win two state championships in indoor volleyball in 1992 and 1994.[8]

In 1993, May-Treanor was named the Division I All-CIF team Player of the Year.[9] In 1994, she was named by USA Today as the best girls' volleyball player in the nation.[10]

She also participated on the track and field team, excelling in the high jump. In 1993 she finished second to future heptathlete Tracye Lawyer at the CIF California State Meet.[11]


May-Treanor played volleyball for the Long Beach State 49ers from 1995 to 1999. The 1998 team that May-Treanor captained was the first women's NCAA volleyball team to have an undefeated season. She graduated with a BA in kinesiology/fitness in 2002 and was inducted into the Long Beach State Athletics Hall of Fame in 2004.[12]

During her tenure there, she racked up numerous Big West Conference and NCAA awards and honors, including the Honda-Broderick Cup for 1998–99,[13] and back-to-back Player of the Year awards in 1997 and 1998.

May-Treanor attended Concordia University Irvine for her master's degree.[14] She earned a Master's Degree in Coaching and Athletic Administration; her degree was conferred on May 4, 2013 in Irvine, California.

NCAA Championship[edit]

As the starting setter in 1998, Misty May-Treanor led the Long Beach State 49ers to a Division I NCAA Women's Volleyball Championship with a 36–0 record. She shared the NCAA Championship Most Outstanding Player award after setting a tournament record with 20 service aces.

Professional career[edit]

1999–2000: Early career with Holly McPeak[edit]

May-Treanor played her first professional match on the AVP tour in May 1999,[15] while still a college senior.

After graduation from Long Beach State, May-Treanor joined the U.S. Women's National Volleyball Team in the summer of 1999, only to quit soon after because "volleyball was not fun anymore".[16] Instead, she chose to pursue a beach volleyball career and teamed with Holly McPeak, a skilled beach player looking to win a medal in the 2000 Summer Olympics after a disappointing 5th in 1996 with partner Nancy Reno.

The pair played their first tournament together on the FIVB tour in Salvador, Brazil in November 1999. Seeded 22nd, McPeak/May-Treanor finished 9th.[17]

Nearly a year behind in the Olympic qualification process, May-Treanor/McPeak found quick success in international as well as domestic play in the 2000 season. They won their first tournament together in April at a USAV event, followed by two wins on the FIVB tour, and one on the now-defunct BVA.[18]

With three FIVB tournament wins and no finishes lower than 5th, the pair qualified for one of two US Olympic berths, paving their way to the Sydney Games. The duo, however, managed only a 5th place finish at Sydney.

2001 to Beijing 2008: Dominance with partner Kerri Walsh[edit]

Treanor serving against Brazil in the 2008 Olympics

After completing the 2000 season with McPeak, May-Treanor's volleyball destiny unfolded after she teamed up with a new partner, Kerri Walsh. Rather than play on the newly reformed AVP tour, the duo spent the 2001 and 2002 seasons gaining valuable experience competing on the international FIVB tour.[19] They won their first FIVB tour championship in 2002.

In 2003, May-Treanor and Walsh signed with the AVP. They received "Team of the Year" honors after having an undefeated season, going 39–0 in match victories with eight tournament wins.

For nearly the entire period from their initial partnering in 2001, to their respective hiatuses in late 2008, May-Treanor and Walsh dominated both the AVP and FIVB beach volleyball tours. Before the start of the 2008 Olympics, they were riding a win streak of 101 matches and 18 tournaments that began in June 2007.

After Beijing[edit]

Following their gold medal victory at the Beijing Olympics, May-Treanor and Walsh returned to the 2008 AVP Tour. Their win streak of 112 matches was broken with an upset victory by fellow 2008 Olympians Nicole Branagh and Elaine Youngs at the AVP Shootout in Cincinnati, Ohio. May-Treanor and Walsh lost again on September 7, falling to April Ross and Jennifer Kessy in the semifinals of an AVP tournament in Santa Barbara, California, marking the first time since April 2007 that the duo missed reaching an AVP tour final.[20] For the 2010 season, with Walsh taking a break from competition for the birth of her second son, May-Treanor teamed up with Branagh. The two won several tournaments together, but struggled for much of the year.[6][21]


May-Treanor played much of her 2002 season with a torn PCL before undergoing surgery that September.[19]

Soon after winning her gold medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, May-Treanor ruptured her achilles tendon during dance practice for a performance on the show Dancing with the Stars.[22] It was successfully repaired, though she did not return to competition for nearly a year.[23]


May-Treanor was a member of the women's volleyball coaching staff at Irvine Valley College beginning in 2001,[24] though she is no longer listed as a staff member. IVC head coach, Tom Pestolesi, was Misty's high school volleyball coach.[25]


U.S. President George W. Bush visits May-Treanor (left) and Walsh (right) at the 2008 Olympics.

Sydney 2000[edit]

Hobbled by an abdominal injury in her first Olympics,[26] May-Treanor finished fifth with partner Holly McPeak in the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

Athens 2004[edit]

Riding a 90-match win streak, May-Treanor and partner Kerri Walsh continued their winning ways through the 2004 Summer Olympics. In semifinal play, the pair defeated fellow Americans — and May-Treanor's former partner — Holly McPeak and partner Elaine Youngs. May-Treanor and Walsh defeated Brazil in the championship match to win the gold medal. The duo did not lose a single set in all seven matches.

Beijing 2008[edit]

On August 21, May-Treanor and Walsh repeated as Olympic gold medalists, defeating the first-seeded Chinese team in two games. They are the only beach volleyball team to repeat as gold medalists. May-Treanor was named the Most Outstanding Player for the women’s competition.[27]

London 2012[edit]

May-Treanor and Walsh competed in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. In the preliminary round, they extended their Olympic winning streak to 32 consecutive sets without a loss with wins over Australia and the Czech Republic. The streak came to an end when they lost their first set to the Schwaiger sisters from Austria; May-Treanor and Walsh went on to win the match 17–21, 21–8, 15–10.[28] May-Treanor and Walsh defeated fellow Americans April Ross and Jennifer Kessy in the final to claim the gold medal (21–16, 21–16).

Personal life[edit]

A prominent tattoo on May-Treanor's shoulder — an angel with the initials "B.M." — is a dedication to her mother, who died of cancer in 2002.[29]

In her autobiography, May-Treanor revealed that she was sexually assaulted in college. She pressed charges and testified at the trial.[5]

In January 2004, May-Treanor began dating baseball player Matt Treanor;[30] the two wed in November 2004.[31] On June 3, 2014 their daughter, Malia Barbara, was born in Long Beach. She has two brothers, Brack and Scott. Brack has competed on the Food Network's show Chopped. May-Treanor's first cousin is tennis player Taylor Dent.[32]

May-Treanor is listed as residing in Coral Springs, Florida;[31] she and her husband also own a home in Long Beach, California.[33] She serves as a Sports Ambassador for Special Olympics Southern California and previously served on the Board of Governors. May-Treanor is obtaining a master's degree in coaching and athletic administration at Concordia University in Irvine, California.[34]


May-Treanor, just prior to teaming with Kerri Walsh-Jennings for a third straight gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics, announced that she was retiring from beach volleyball. She confirmed this shortly after the Olympics victory.[35]

May-Treanor has now completed her Graduate Degree with Concordia University Irvine and received a Masters in Coaching and Athletic Administration.

Awards and honors[edit]


Big West Conference[edit]

May's honors in the Big West Conference include:[36]

  • Big West Conference Freshman of the Year 1995
  • All-Big West First Team (4): 1995–1998
  • Big West Player of the Year (3): 1996–1998
  • Big West Player of the Week – 6 times



  • Masters in Coaching and Athletic Administration from Concordia University Irvine.



  • AVP Best Defensive Player (7): 2002–2008
  • AVP Best Offensive Player (11): 1998–2008
  • AVP Crocs Cup Champion (3): 2006–2008 (all with Kerri Walsh)
  • AVP Most Valuable Player (4): 2005–2008
  • AVP Team of the Year (6): 2003–2008 (all with Kerri Walsh)


  • FIVB Best Defensive Player (2): 2007–2008
  • FIVB Best Offensive Player (3): 2005, 2007–2008
  • FIVB Best Setter (1): 2005
  • FIVB Most Outstanding (2): 2005, 2008
  • FIVB Sportsperson (2): 2007, 2008
  • FIVB Tour Champion (1): 2002 (Kerri Walsh)


  • BVA Rookie of the Year 2000[6]


  • Most women's career tournament victories: 112[6]
  • Most women's career earnings: $2,132,733[6]
  • Most women's international career wins: 43[6]
  • 2004 and 2006 – Sportswoman of the Year Award (with Kerri Walsh)[37]

TV and film appearances[edit]

May-Treanor has made numerous minor television appearances, including Dancing with the Stars, episodes of CSI: Miami, Wizards of Waverly Place, and the Late Show with David Letterman.[38]

In 2008, May-Treanor competed in Dancing with the Stars (U.S. season 7) with partner, Maksim Chmerkovskiy. May-Treanor ruptured her Achilles tendon during a training session for the show, and was consequently forced to withdraw from the competition.[39]

Following the 2008 Olympics, May-Treanor appeared in an episode of the Disney series Wizards of Waverly Place.[40] On August 14, 2012 she appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.[41]


  1. ^ "Overall Career Individual Leaders". Beach Volleyball Database. Retrieved August 8, 2012. 
  2. ^ Ackerman, Jon. "Best of 2000s: Team of the Decade – Misty May/Kerri Walsh". Universal Sports. Retrieved September 12, 2010. 
  3. ^ "Meet Team USA: Women's Beach Volleyball". Harpo Productions, Inc. Retrieved September 12, 2010. 
  4. ^ May-Treanor, Misty; Lieber Steeg, Jill (2010). Misty: My Journey Through Volleyball and Life. New York: Scribner. p. 26. ISBN 978-1439148556. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Golen, Jimmy (June 16, 2010). "Misty May-Treanor Book: Alcoholism, Sexual Assault & More". The Huffington Post. Retrieved September 22, 2014. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f Misty May-Treanor – Profile, Beach Volleyball Database
  7. ^ "Misty May-Treanor, Kerri Walsh Jennings share volleyball roots in California". CBS News. Retrieved November 9, 2012. 
  8. ^ Szabo, Matt (March 30, 2007). "AVP MVP gears up". Daily Pilot. 
  9. ^ "Three from O.C. grab top honors". The Orange County Register. December 10, 1993. 
  10. ^ Osterman, David (December 20, 1994). "Misty May nationally recognized for her volleyball prowess". The Orange County Register. 
  11. ^ "California State Meet Results – 1915 to present". Hank Lawson. Retrieved 2012-12-25. 
  12. ^ Adler, Niall (October 18, 2004). "Athletes, Coach, Physician to be Inducted into LBSU Hall of Fame". This Week @ The Beach. California State University, Long Beach. Retrieved August 8, 2012. 
  13. ^ "Past Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year Winners". Collegiate Women Sports Awards. Retrieved August 9, 2012. 
  14. ^ http://www.cui.edu/academicprograms/graduate/coaching/index.aspx?id=23128
  15. ^ Misty May-Treanor – Profile: 1999 AVP Pro Beach Tour, Beach Volleyball Database
  16. ^ Pucin, Diane (October 13, 1999). "May's heart is on the beach". Los Angeles Times. 
  17. ^ Misty May-Treanor – Profile: 1999 Fédération Internationale de Volleyball World Tour, Beach Volleyball Database
  18. ^ Misty May-Treanor – Profile: 2000 Beach Volleyball America, Beach Volleyball Database
  19. ^ a b "AVP Fans Are Seeing Her Take the Beach by Storm". LA Times. April 29, 2003. Retrieved April 10, 2012. 
  20. ^ Associated Press (September 7, 2008). "May-Treanor and Walsh lose again, this time in the semis". USA Today. Retrieved September 7, 2008. 
  21. ^ Myers, Laura (July 17, 2010). "Misty May-Treanor, Nicole Branagh still adjusting as a team". Los Angeles Times. 
  22. ^ Keveney, Bill (October 7, 2008). "May-Treanor sits out this 'Dancing'". USA Today. p. D1. 
  23. ^ "Athletes: Misty May-Treanor". USA Volleyball. Retrieved April 10, 2012. 
  24. ^ Irvine Valley College volleyball coaching staff (Internet Archive)
  25. ^ "Irvine Valley coach talks Misty May". Orange Country Register. 
  26. ^ Springer, Steve (August 13, 2004). "May shrugs off abdominal injury". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 18, 2008. 
  27. ^ Evans, B.J. "May-Treanor named Olympic Most Outstanding Player". USA Volleyball. Retrieved August 22, 2008. 
  28. ^ Golen, Jimmy (August 1, 2012). "US beach women lose their first Olympic set". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 6, 2012. 
  29. ^ Wilstein, Steve (August 26, 2004). "Angel on her shoulder gives May a lift". NBC News. Associated Press. 
  30. ^ Talking with pro volleyball player Misty May
  31. ^ a b "May-Treanor Bio". USAvolleyball.org. Retrieved August 17, 2008. 
  32. ^ Moore, David Leon (August 12, 2004). "Beach volleyball's dynamic duo". USA Today. 
  33. ^ "Misty holds court in LB". Long Beach Press-Telegram. July 19, 2007. 
  34. ^ "Olympic Medalist talks about MCAA". Retrieved October 6, 2012. 
  35. ^ "MISTY'S DONE". AP. Retrieved August 9, 2012. 
  36. ^ "2008 Women's Volleyball Media Guide" (PDF). Big West Conference. 
  37. ^ "Sportswoman of the Year Award". Women's Sports Foundation. Retrieved August 3, 2009. 
  38. ^ "Misty May-Treanor on IMDB". IMDB. Retrieved April 10, 2012. 
  39. ^ "May-Treanor has torn Achilles, Burke says". MSNBC. 
  40. ^ http://www.tvguide.com/news/Misty-May-Treanor-Digs-17578.aspx
  41. ^ http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/tue-august-14-2012/misty-may-treanor

Further reading[edit]

May-Treanor, Misty; Lieber Steeg, Jill (2010). Misty: Digging Deep in Volleyball and Life. Scribner. ISBN 978-1439148549. 

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
 Adriana Behar
and Shelda Bede (BRA)
Women's FIVB Beach World Tour Winner
alongside United States Kerri Walsh

Succeeded by
 Sandra Pires and
Ana Paula Connelly (BRA)
Preceded by
 Shelda Bede (BRA)
Women's FIVB World Tour "Best Defender"
Succeeded by
 Larissa França (BRA)
Preceded by
 Zhang Xi (CHN)
Women's FIVB World Tour "Best Defender"
Succeeded by
 Larissa França (BRA)
Preceded by
Women's FIVB World Tour "Best Attacker"
Succeeded by
 Juliana Felisberta (BRA)
Preceded by
 Juliana Felisberta (BRA)
Women's FIVB World Tour "Best Attacker"
Succeeded by
 April Ross (USA)
Preceded by
Women's FIVB World Tour "Best Setter"
Succeeded by
 Larissa França (BRA)
Preceded by
 Kerri Walsh (USA)
Women's FIVB World Tour "Most Inspirational"
alongside United States Kerri Walsh

Succeeded by
 Laura Ludwig (GER)
Preceded by
Women's FIVB World Tour "Most Outstanding"
Succeeded by
 Larissa França (BRA)
Preceded by
 Kerri Walsh (USA)
Women's FIVB World Tour "Most Outstanding"
alongside China Zhang Xi

Succeeded by
 Juliana Felisberta (BRA)
Preceded by
 Kerri Walsh (USA)
Women's FIVB World Tour "Sportsperson"
alongside United States Kerri Walsh

Succeeded by
 Shelda Bede (BRA)
Preceded by
 Shelda Bede (BRA)
Women's FIVB World Tour "Sportsperson"
Succeeded by
 Juliana Felisberta (BRA)