USC's Jovan Vavic Named U.S. Men's National Team Interim Head Coach
Nov. 20, 2012
USC's decorated and championship-savvy water polo head coach, Jovan Vavic, will add another team to his charge as he has been named interim head coach of the USA Men's Senior National Team, USA Water Polo's Chief Executive Officer Chris Ramsey announced today. The 10-time National Coach of the Year at the helm of both the USC men's and women's programs, Vavic steps into the international realm in an effort to help Team USA qualify for the 2013 FINA World Championships.
Vavic and his Trojan men's team are currently embedded in pursuit of a fifth straight national championship. USC will host both the MPSF Tournament this weekend (Nov. 23-25) as the top seed, and the NCAA Tournament the following weekend (Dec. 1-2). Vavic made history last season in leading USC to become the first men's program ever to win four consecutive national titles. When this 2012 NCAA Tournament wraps up, Vavic will put aside his usual down time between the USC men's and women's seasons to take over the U.S. Men's National Team in preparation for the Unión Americana de Natación (UANA) World Championship Qualification Tournament. That competition will run January 28 to February 2, 2013 in Calgary, Canada.
"I'm very honored to have been considered for this position, and I'm really looking forward to working hard for both USA Water Polo and USC. I'm used to training more than one team, so it's nothing new to me. It keeps me sharp, because I'm always thinking about water polo," said Vavic, who saw 10 of his Trojan athletes compete for various countries at the 2012 Olympic Games. "USC is my home. It has taken care of me for years, and I'm not leaving USC. I'm excited for the challenge to qualify the United States for the World Championships. It's during a period of time when I have a break, and I'm going to use my break to expand and enhance my coaching horizons by training with some of the best water polo players in our country."
Vavic will be joined on his interim staff by UC Irvine head coach Marc Hunt along with USC head assistant coach Marko Pintaric, who has served on Vavic's Trojan coaching staff for the past 12 years. Vavic and Pintaric will continue to serve on both the USC men's and women's coaching staffs.
USA WATER POLO RELEASE:
Vavic will be joined on his interim staff by UCI men's water polo head coach Marc Hunt and USC head assistant coach Marko Pintaric, who will serve as assistant coaches. Hunt led the USA Water Polo World University Games team to a fourth place finish in 2011, while Pintaric has been an assistant coach at USC for the last 12 years.
In addition to primary assistant coaches, Stanford men's water polo head coach John Vargas will anchor satellite training for the team in the Northern California area. Vargas was USA Water Polo's national team coach from 1997-2000. He will be assisted by James Lathrop, current USA Water Polo Men's Junior National Team coach and head men's coach at Miramonte High School. Jack Kocur, former head coach at Pepperdine University, will serve as video scout and Rick McKee will serve as team manager.
"Jovan Vavic is a proven winner," said Ramsey. "His work ethic and attention to detail is exceptional, and he will be a tremendous leader for our men's national team. We have also worked to assemble a staff that reflects the strengths of our federation as well as our college and high school systems. We want to work hard together and bring honor to our country, and I am confident that this group will provide exactly that result."
"I am honored that USA Water Polo, along with Chris Ramsey, has given me this opportunity. USA Water Polo has a long and proud tradition, and its talented teams have won three medals in the last two Olympic Games. We have great potential here in the United States with some of the best young water polo players in the world. I am excited to work together with these coaches and athletes to create a powerful and successful team that will make USA Water Polo proud." said Vavic.
The team selected by Vavic will represent the USA at the Union Americana de Natacion (UANA) World Championship Qualification Tournament in Calgary, Canada, January 28th to February 2nd. The United States men did not qualify for the FINA 2013 World Championships at the London Olympic Games, and therefore must compete against teams from at least Canada and Brazil to gain a berth. The FINA World Championships are being held this summer in Barcelona, Spain.
After the qualification event, USA Water Polo will appoint a men's national team head coach for the remainder of the Olympic quadrennial, who will start new training and selection for the upcoming FINA World League and World Championship events.