Malibu Sports Spotlight: John Meyers, Our Lady of Malibu Catholic School

John Meyers, Our Lady of Malibu Catholic School. Dick Dornan / TMT

As a coach, teacher and mentor at Our Lady of Malibu Catholic School, John Meyers has been an inspiration to many students for 15 years on the small Malibu campus. This fall Meyers began his 25th year as a physical education teacher. A self-described “one-person P.E. department,” Meyers serves as the school’s physical education coach and athletic director.

Born in Los Angeles and raised in nearby Pacific Palisades, Meyers attended Palisades High School and later earned a degree in sociology at UCLA. He then earned his teaching credential at California State University, Northridge.

Before coming to Our Lady of Malibu, Meyers worked for six years at St. Martin of Tours Catholic School in Brentwood, as well as St. James Catholic School in La Crescenta for four years. Aside from his physical education duties at OLM, he is also an art teacher and the moderator for the student council.

Since the 1980s, Meyers has been a fixture on the microphone for the Catholic Youth Organization as the official “Voice of the CYO” where Meyers announces all track and field events and other various sporting festivities.

The Malibu Times caught up with Meyers as he reflected upon his 15 years of service to OLM.

Please describe your experiences at Our Lady of Malibu.

The OLM community is fantastic. I went through the public school system as a student. Public schools are fine but here it’s more like a family. The parents are friends with each other, the kids know each other and it is one big family atmosphere. I wouldn’t have been here for the last 15 years if I wasn’t happy. When alumni come back to visit and even coach, it’s fantastic and means the world to me. I really love it here.

I also love the climate and it is so wonderful to come out and have only a few days with 90-plus weather. At St. James in La Crescenta, that was the rule rather than the exception. One of the strengths of OLM is the teacher-to-pupil ratio. Because we have a small school, the class sizes are great. I love having smaller class sizes. It allows me more individual attention and instruction with the students.

Talk about your role as the school’s physical education teacher.

I am the P.E. teacher for kindergarten through eighth grade. Every student has an hour of P.E. a week and it’s either split up into two half-hour classes or one full hour class a week. I have never been traditional. As a P.E. teacher, I very seldom say “Okay kids, go out there and run a lap.” I do what is called “disguised conditioning.” Instead of just having them running mindless laps for no apparent reason, I will have them play games that involve conditioning such as “ghosts in the graveyard” or “the chip race.” The kids are enjoying the games while running around quite a bit.

What are your responsibilities as the school’s athletic director?

I oversee the athletic program and all the coaches. We have a varsity team, which is seventh and eighth grades and a “B” team that is fifth and sixth grades. When we host home games, I am the on-site coordinator and assist with the setup and teardown of the equipment. In some cases, I might even be the referee.

Our Lady of Malibu is a member of the CYO [Catholic Youth Organization], and we also participate in a local league called the Valley Catholic Sports Program. The CYO consists of 180 schools throughout the Los Angeles archdiocese and the VCSP includes schools from the San Fernando Valley, Conejo Valley and Simi Valley. Our sports are flag football, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls volleyball, and track and field. In the past we had a girls softball team, cross country and an equestrian team. It is my goal for the future to expand the sports program to include golf, tennis, archery, bowling and fishing.

What is your athletic philosophy?

First of all, I would like all the students to embrace a healthy life style. That cannot be ignored. But what is most important to me in athletics is the participation and effort of the kids. What I am most pleased about is not championships, but it is the number of kids that participate and doing the best they can. I am proudest to say that over the years here at OLM, the vast majority of the kids have participated in one kind of a sport or another.