MCU Names Ali Wood Lamberson Head Coach of Women’s Volleyball

Ali Wood Lamberson

Marymount California University has announced Ali Wood Lamberson as the new head coach of women’s beach and indoor volleyball. She brings over 30 years of experience as a former collegiate and professional player, educator and NCAA national championship coach.

“We are excited to have Ali joining our Mariners family,” said Interim Director of Athletics Cathy Clarke. “Her experience both as a coach and a player is impressive. Ali’s passion and personality fit well with our volleyball players, and we are looking forward to seeing the team grow and develop under her leadership.”

Lamberson was an assistant coach at USC, leading the Trojans to two consecutive national team championships. She spent the 2019 and 2018 collegiate beach seasons as the assistant coach for Tulane University, helping the Green Wave post a program-best 18 wins and best finish at the AVCA Pairs Championship. Additionally in 2018, she coached the under-19 national teams to fourth and ninth place finishes at the FIVB Youth World Championships and Youth Olympic Games.

“I am thrilled to be taking over the Mariner beach and indoor volleyball programs,” said Lamberson. “The synergy created by the athletic department’s commitment to growth and my experience building successful programs position the Mariners to make great strides in the immediate future.”

Lamberson was USA Volleyball’s first full-time beach staff member, serving as the director of international and high-performance beach programs. Under her direction, the youth and junior teams won more than six international medals.

She has also served as head coach of the U-17 beach national team, guiding her pairs to a historic gold and silver medal finish at the inaugural FIVB World Championships while also winning three consecutive USA Volleyball Beach High Performance Championship titles. Since 2007, she has served as lead cadre member for the Beach Coaching Accreditation program.

Lamberson also brings extensive playing history to the program. Following two years of junior club volleyball, she received a full scholarship to UC Irvine, where she was the school’s top outside hitter and a 1989 First Team All-Region selection. She led the Anteaters to their first NCAA tournament appearance and top 20 rankings. After college, she played in Germany’s Bundesliga women’s volleyball league for a year and one season with the San Jose Stars.

Additionally, she has competed on the AVP, FIVB, BVA and WPVA pro beach volleyball tours, competing in 178 career tournaments. She reached the final four in four pro beach tournaments and placed fifth at the 2001 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championship. At the same time, Lamberson was the head coach of the California State University Dominguez Hills Toros, leading them to one of their best seasons ever and first regional rankings.

Lamberson earned her bachelor’s degree in English from UC Irvine and a master’s degree in behavioral science (negotiation and conflict resolution) from CSUDH. She has been married to John Lamberson since 2008 and has a daughter, Josephine.