USA Water Polo honored USC men’s and women’s head coach Jovan Vavic with the Monte Nitzkowski Distinguished Men’s Coaching Award on Monday. The award, annually given at the USA Water Polo Hall of Fame Induction and National Awards Dinner, honored Vavic for his contributions to the USA Water Polo program. A native of the former Yugoslavia, Vavic took over head coaching duties for the USA Men’s Senior National Team last year on an interim basis, helping the team qualify for the 2013 FINA World Championships.
Vavic has been remarkably successful in his 19-year tenure at USC. In that timespan, he won a combined 13 national titles and 12 National Coach of the Year awards with the men’s and women’s programs. He has led the men’s team to a record six consecutive national championships in the past six seasons, a record the Trojans will put to the test once again next fall. Last week, Vavic’s women’s team lost for the first time in 28 games, a streak dating back to the team’s 2013 National Championship season.
Recently USC water polo has been a family affair for Vavic — he has coached both his son Nikola and his daughter Monica to great individual success. Nikola, who won four consecutive national championships with the Trojans from 2010-2013, was a four-time All-American and two-time National Player of the Year. He also became the school’s all-time leading scorer as a senior.
Monica, a junior on the women’s team, has already become one of the best players in program history. She is a two-time first team All-American, and was named the MPSF Player of the Year last season. Her 57 goals so far in 2014 are currently tops for the Women of Troy.
Though he graduated from crosstown rival UCLA, the elder Vavic will certainly be remembered as one of the greatest Trojans of all time. Next year will be his 20th year coaching the men’s squad — in the last 19 years, the team has finished outside the top three in the country just five times. Since 1996, when the USC women’s team entered Division I play, the Women of Troy have finished outside the top three only seven times. Jovan and Monica are back in action tomorrow afternoon when they host No. 11 Loyola Marymount at the Uytengsu Aquatic Center.