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Matt Lyles, Assistant Coach, Volleyball
Tuesday, Apr. 10, 2012
After dinner on any given evening, you would find Matt "Matty" Lyles’ four-year-old son Ethan taking the day’s compost to the garden. This is just one of the ways Matty educates his family on becoming more eco-friendly. With his family life, volleyball coaching, and his online business, Matty is working to change the way we live to be more sustainable.
Matty’s journey to the world of organic skin products was initially inspired by his active lifestyle, but it was his first wife's lengthy battle with breast cancer that stirred his suspicions about the connection between toxins and disease. For over a year, Matty joined her in her quest to gather data on cancer-causing substances, and skin products kept on coming up. When breast cancer finally won over, Matty vowed that he would continue on a path of wellness. From that point on, organic skin care became a priority in the Lyles household. From retail stores to online vendors the majority of skin products available contained harmful ingredients—with some of them bearing false labels. In fact, there wasn’t a single online source that offered a good selection of men’s natural skin care products that were certified organic by the USDA. Then, “MattyLou's” was born.
Matty took the years of data he had gathered and used it to decide which companies’ products to sell. MattyLou's does not create or manufacture any of the products on the website but rather makes them available for people in one convenient location. From the most natural to the most reputable, only quality skin care products that are Natural and USDA Certified Organic are sold. Through his business, Matty partnered with 1% For the Planet, which is a company that finds non-profit organizations for companies to donate to. One percent of Matty’s business goes to City Slicker Farms, an urban farm in Oakland. He wanted to keep his donation local to help the local economy, as well as to help an urban farm. Matty is very interested in urban farming because of its lack of pesticides and chemicals, as well as it practices of reusing soil and not depleting it of its natural chemical balance.
Matty brings these concepts into his own home by teaching his son, as well as by doing what he can to live sustainably. He does some small farming in his back yard, and he even built his own potato bin. He has a working compost system, he is in the process of getting chickens, and he works really hard with his waste diversion to recycle as much as possible. The family has also switched their diet so they eat more locally, and they are researching the best way to get solar panels for their house. In his house you won't find one-time-use plastic bottles—everything is reusable, even Ethan’s lunch.
Not only does Matty do all of this, but he is also Assistant Coach of the Women’s Volleyball team here at Santa Clara. Matty has been playing since his senior year of high school in 1987, and he was a member of the national championship team in 1991 for Long Beach. He played USA volleyball for 2 years, and as another SCU coach Brad Keller stated, he “dominated” Europe for 4 years between 1994 and 1998. After this he went on to play in the Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP) for eight years between 1996 and 2003. In 2005 he helped lead SCU Volleyball to its first ever final four appearance in the NCAA tournament.
These two different parts of his life do overlap, as he has a large group of beach volleyball friends that are now using his natural skin care. Being in the sun for so much of your life takes its toll, but natural skin care is what Matty swears by. Also as assistant coach of the team here, he encourages his athletes to get involved. This year, the volleyball team is starting to get involved with The Forge, SCU’s own urban garden. He believes that The Forge is a good platform for the team and other athletes to start with. He wants the team to start volunteering because this is an opportunity right at their fingertips. Matty is very excited to have this recourse available for the team and to be able to share his passion for sustainability with his players and SCU athletics.
By Megan Anders, '14 Sustainability Intern -- Athletics