Though the men’s water polo team might have had a vacation from classes, they’ve had a busy summer both in the pool and in the news.
USA Today recently rated USC the top university for men’s water polo. This honor was bestowed on the university based on both its athletic prowess as well as its academic reputation.
USC has won a total of nine national championships with an unmatched six in a row from 2008 to 2013.
Last year, the Trojans fell just short in an upset by crosstown rival UCLA in the championship game. The team complemented their deep playoff run with a successful regular season in which they finished with an overall record of 24-7.
Over the past two seasons, the Trojans have combined for an impressive record of 52-11 as well as the 2014 national championship.
A main reason for USC’s dominant history is head coach Jovan Vavic. Vavic has served as both the men’s and women’s coach for the past 20 years at USC and has seen tremendous success in his time as part of the Trojan Family.
Vavic has a win percentage of .868, which equals an outstanding record of 448-68. The impressive streak of championships that only recently came to an end with a second place finish, the Trojans extended their streak of nearly 10 season in which the team has not finished lower than second in the country, dating back to 2005.
As a team included in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, Vavic has a record of 311-66, a win percentage of .825 against Federation teams since 1995. Outside of the MPSF, Vavic has recorded only two losses in his 19-year career.
Not only has Vavic seen success coaching each of the men’s and women’s teams, he has also won both championships in the same year four times, most recently in the 2012-13 season.
His 13 national championships make Vavic the coach with the most national championships of any coach in USC’s decorated athletic history. Vavic has also been named coach of the year 12 times nationally and 10 times by the MPSF.
Vavic’s success has rubbed off on his players as well. Ten of his players have won the Cutino Award, the most prestigious award in water polo.
In the pool, the Trojans have been just as successful this summer.
In July, recent graduate Nikola Vavic and current goalie McQuin Baron helped the U.S. Men’s team secure their place in the 2016 Rio Olympics with a semifinal win over Canada in the Pan American Games. Team USA went on to win the championship with a win over future host Brazil in the final.
The men’s water polo team will return to the pool this fall in hopes of bringing back another national title to USC.