Former Olympian Stein Metzger Coaches UCLA to Consecutive Wins
And he’s just getting started.
- Written & photographed byKat Monk
On a balmy, windy afternoon in Gulf Shores, Alabama, history repeated itself for the UCLA Beach Volleyball team in 2019. Stein Metzger, the head coach, stepped onto the tarmac with a huge smile on his face, trophy in hand, to board a chartered flight back to Westwood after winning his second consecutive NCAA championship.
At 6’3”, Stein has deep roots in volleyball starting in his early days playing on the beaches of the Outrigger Canoe Club in Honolulu. He was the setter for the indoor volleyball team at Punahou High School and went on to attend UCLA, where he won three NCAA championships in 1993, 1995 and 1996.
“Stein was the fiercest competitor I ever played with but had fun doing it. He taught me the importance of putting good people around you and then trusting in those people.”
Stein made his Olympic beach volleyball debut at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens with Dax Holdren after winning the silver medal at the 2003 World championships in Rio de Janeiro. They came into the Olympics ranked 12th in the world and tied for 5th place.
Stein, nicknamed Stein-O, was the top-ranked player on tour after he and Jake Gibb played in the semifinals of 11 out of 13 events. Jake still plays and is on a quest for a run at the 2020 Olympics teamed up with another Punahou alumni, Taylor Crabb.
“Stein was the fiercest competitor I ever played with but had fun doing it,” says Jake. “He taught me the importance of putting good people around you and then trusting in those people.”
Stein was inducted into the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame in 2009 and is second all-time in UCLA history in assists (5,158) and sixth in aces (110). He returned to his alma mater as an assistant to the women’s indoor team with teammate Mike Sealy.
In spring 2013 it was announced that Stein would start coaching the inaugural women’s beach team for UCLA assisted by Jenny Johnson Jordan, another UCLA alumni. As the women’s beach coach, he won the 2017 and 2018 Pac-12 Coach of the Year and the 2018 AVCA national coach of the year.
The tally so far for Stein, as a player and coach, is five national championships—amazing when you think about the short amount of time he has been involved at the collegiate level. And he doesn’t plan to stop anytime soon. His 2020 team is loaded with talent, and he continues to recruit the country’s best athletes.