Malibu Sports Spotlight: Marie Zweig, Malibu High School athletic trainer

Marie Zweig. Photo by Dick Dornana / TMT

Like a shepherd tending to her flock, Malibu High School athletic trainer Marie Zweig makes sure each athlete in her care is in good health and in good hands. In her 11 years on the job, Zweig has acquired a well-deserved reputation as matriarch of the school’s athletic department.

Malibu has an enrollment close to 700 students, about half of whom participate in sports. Zweig interacts on a daily basis with many of these student-athletes as well as the school’s 45 coaches. She attends all home sporting events, where she is available to treat any injuries and evaluate an athlete’s condition when needed.

Born in Santa Monica and raised in the San Fernando Valley, Zweig graduated from Cal State Northridge in 1979 with a bachelor’s degree in physical education. A member of the National Athletic Trainers Association, Zweig has been an athletic trainer for 32 years. Before coming to MHS, Zweig also served as the head athletic trainer at West Los Angeles College and Pierce College.

Zweig moved to Malibu in 1988. She is the proud mother to Megan, 25, Casey, 23, and Sarah, 20. Each of her daughters graduated from MHS. Megan and Casey played tennis, soccer and softball at Malibu and attended Duke University. Sarah played tennis and softball and is currently a junior at U.C. Berkeley. Zweig is neighbors with her brother, Patrick, and his wife, Carol Kinsella.

Last year, Zweig and her family were dealt a terrible blow when her husband, Michael, died on March 21 after a four-month battle with cancer. He was 58.

Michael Zweig supported Malibu Little League for more than 17 years, serving as president, softball commissioner and manager. He coached more than 25 softball teams from Malibu T-Ball, Malibu Little League and Malibu High School. Only days before he passed away, the newly formed Malibu Little League Hall of Fame made him its first inductee.

The Malibu Times caught up with Zweig to discuss her job as athletic trainer at MHS as well as the profound impact her husband had on the Malibu community.

How did you choose the profession of athletic trainer?

I was working out on the track as a hurdler at Cal State Northridge and we had just finished practice. I was walking back down to the gym area and I saw some chin-up bars. I started swinging on them, jumped off and tore two ligaments and the meniscus in my knee. It’s called an ‘unhappy triad.’ I was carted off and had surgery three days later. During the rehabilitation process, I got to see what an athletic trainer did. I kept going back and forth between athletic training and physical therapy. I finally decided on the athletic training because I loved being around athletes.

Talk about your time as athletic trainer at Malibu High and how it is going currently.

For many years it was very fun being around my daughters and seeing them compete. It’s still fun. I really enjoy it. It’s a great job, a wonderful community and the athletes are good kids. This year we’ve had so many teams do well in league and go to playoffs. We don’t have large numbers of kids. It’s really amazing that we are doing so well. But I’ve got to hand it to the coaches. We have a very good coaching staff. They really care about the kids and the kids know that, so they are working hard. Teenagers will do a lot for you if they think you care and that you respect them. I think that is what is happening this year.

Share your thoughts on what it meant to you that Michael was inducted into the Malibu Little League Hall of Fame.

The induction meant so much to Michael. It was a few days before he passed away. Kathy Haag and Connie Connors came to our house with the plaque. We had no idea. Michael was so thrilled and he had me take his picture sitting at his desk wearing one of his Malibu Little League hats holding up the plaque. My husband was a huge baseball fan growing up. For him to be the first inductee into the MLL Hall of Fame was a big deal. The community was behind my family the whole time Michael was ill. It was a reinforcement of that community love. It meant a lot to our family.

As Mother’s Day approaches, you have to be one proud mother for what your daughters have accomplished.

My husband and I always put academics first, but we tried to do it in a relaxing way. All three of my daughters were stellar students. They put the time in and it all paid off. We were very proud. But we were also proud of their athletic endeavors because my husband and I were both athletes.

It’s been a very difficult year. But he prepared us. He was president of the Optimist Club at the time of his death. He made jokes until the day he died. We talked about that we would continue to be strong like he was. And that’s what we have done. I am so proud of my kids.