Lance Stewart resigns as Laguna girls' volleyball coach

It's become double-whammy week for Laguna Beach High athletics.

In the wake of Mike Churchill announcing that he was stepping down as head coach of the school's football team, longtime coach Lance Stewart on Wednesday announced that he was resigning as head coach of the girls' volleyball program.

Churchill, who is the schools' athletic director, said that the girls' volleyball head coaching position is open immediately.

Churchill was replaced Tuesday by Corey Brown as head coach of the Laguna football program.

"Lance is the winningest coach in school history," Churchill said. "He took on the best competition, and beat the best competition. He's done just a great job for this school. He's decided it's time to move on. He has a few business ventures gong on, which take up a lot of his time."

Stewart's record is unmatched in Laguna athletics. He led both the girls' and boys' volleyball programs at the school simultaneously for eight years before stepping down as head coach of the Laguna boys' volleyball program in December, after the conclusion of the 2011season. He was replaced as head coach of the boys' program by Scott Panaro.

He coached the Laguna girls' volleyball program for 12 seasons (1989-90, 2003-2012). During that time, his teams won 10 league championships including eight straight between 2005 and this year. Eleven of those teams earned a final CIF Southern Section ranking of No. 4 or higher. His 2006 and 2007 teams won back-to-back CIF Southern Section Division II-AA titles, and the 2006 squad captured the CIF State Regional Division III title.

Stewart led the Laguna boys' program for 11 years (1988-90, 2004-2011). Eight of his teams won league championships, and each of those eight teams finished with a final CIF Southern Section ranking of No. 5 or higher. The 2010 team won the CIF Southern Section Division II title and that team, along with the 2009 and 2011 teams, won three-consecutive CIF State Regional championships.

Stewart also coached the Corona del Mar girls' volleyball program between 1992-94. He guided the Sea Kings to one league title (1992) and consecutive CIF State and Regional championships in 1992 and 1993.

"The decision was based on a lot of things, and not one thing, in particular," Stewart said of Wednesday's resignation. "Coaching a high school team takes a lot of time. You definitely don't do it for the money. I'll still be coaching, coaching a lot of kids, in fact, and doing what I love."

Stewart has been and will continue to be involved with a few club volleyball ventures: as club director of 900SqFt Volleyball Club in Laguna Beach, as owner and director of volleyball operations for Mavericks Volleyball Club in Corona, and is a partner with Chris Tobolski at

A three-sport athlete at Laguna, Stewart (Class of 1981) was a setter on the 1981 team that went undefeated and won a CIF section championship in a season that ended with him being named the CIF Player of the Year.

"It's been enjoyable. I wouldn't have done it if it wasn't," he said of his coaching career at Laguna. "I'm going to miss the kids, most of all. It's been a great ride."

Twitter: @MikeSciacca

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