Photo Credit: Official Site
I know there were some inquiries into who would replace Coach Krikorian, he of 11 national titles as a head coach, now that he's moving on to coach the national team. Well, now we have our answer. Coach K will be replaced by a pair of coaches who have served as assistant coaches under him recently. Adam Wright will take over the men's program with Coach K still staying on the staff as Associate Head Coach, while Brandon Brooks has been handed the keys to the five-time defending national champion women's program.
Both Wright (1997-2000) and Brooks (1999-2003) starred for the UCLA's men's water polo program, leading the Bruins to back-to-back NCAA championships in 1999 and 2000, before excelling in the international water polo ranks and participating in the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games for the U.S. National Team.
"I would like to thank the UCLA administration for having the trust in me to lead our men's water polo program," Wright said. "It is an honor to continue the great tradition established at UCLA, and we have a lot of work to do. I am excited to have the chance to work with Adam Krikorian, and we look forward to getting started this summer."
"I'm deeply honored and incredibly excited to take the reins of the UCLA women's water polo program," Brooks said. "I've always been proud to be a Bruin and look forward to continuing UCLA's success. We return a terrific group of veterans and are thrilled about our incoming class of freshmen. It is with great humility that I'm able to take this team forward."
The official site provides some information on Wright's coaching experience.
Wright has served as an assistant coach at UCLA since the fall of 2008. Last winter, he played a key role in securing the top men's recruiting class in the nation. He has also served as an assistant coach with the varsity boys and girls water polo programs at Wilson High School (Long Beach, Calif.) from 2001-04. He helped coach the boys program to four consecutive CIF Division I championships and Moore League titles. Wright coached the girls team to two Moore League titles and two CIF Division I quarterfinal playoff appearances.
As a player, Wright was an honorable mention All-American for the Bruins, played professionally in Europe and played with the national team from 2001-2008.
Brooks has some coaching experience of his own too.
Brooks has served as an assistant coach with the UCLA men's and women's teams the past three seasons, in addition to working as an undergraduate assistant coach with the men's program in 2004. He helped lead the women's program to NCAA championships each of the last three seasons and assisted the men's program to the 2004 NCAA title. Brooks played a major role in helping land one of the top women's recruiting classes in the nation for 2010.
Brooks was head coach of the Los Angeles Water Polo Club's boys 16-and-under team from 2006-08. In 2006, he coached the club team to an undefeated season, culminating in the Junior Olympic Championship. He helped develop 15 Division I men's water polo student-athletes in his tenure as head coach. Additionally, Brooks will serve on the coaching staff of the U.S. Women's National Team this summer, alongside Krikorian.
As a player at UCLA, Brooks made the most saves on Bruins history, won a pair of national titles and was an All-American before moving on to play with the US National Team.
Best of luck to both of them as they have some mighty big shoes to fill. Coach K was arguably UCLA's top coach in an athletic department filled with outstanding coaches so it won't be easy, but they're Bruins who spent time learning fom Coach K so I like my chances with them at the helm.