Stanford's respective men's and women's water polo head coaches, John Vargas and John Tanner, have signed multi-year contract extensions with the school, Jaquish & Kenninger Director of Athletics Bernard Muir announced Thursday.
“John Vargas and John Tanner have molded their respective programs into models of the excellence we strive for at Stanford,” said Muir. “The positive impacts of their programs in both the athletic and academic forums and the university community, as well as the generous endowment of their positions last year, has us very excited for the future of men’s and women’s water polo here at Stanford.”
Tanner has been at the reins of the Cardinal women's program since the 1998 season, while Vargas took over the men's program in 2002. In March 2012 both head-coaching positions were endowed by an anonymous donor.
"It is a huge honor to coach Stanford water polo. Our students and alumnae have been comprehensively brilliant, winning NCAA titles and Olympic gold medals, earning NCAA post-grad scholarships, and landing positions in world-class companies and graduate schools,” Tanner said. “It seems like every day we hear great news about opportunities earned by our present and former student-athletes.”
"I would like to thank Bernard Muir and Earl Koberlein for their guidance and leadership,” Vargas said. “Stanford Athletics continues to be the best athletic department in the country and I am honored to be a part of this outstanding university and community. The student-athletes I have worked with over my time here have accomplished so much in and out of the pool both at Stanford and beyond, and I continue to be very proud of that."
Both coaches have overseen their respective programs meet with extraordinary success both in and out of the pool. Tanner, owner of a 380-59 record over his 15 years at Stanford, has led Stanford to three NCAA titles (2002, 2011, 2012) and made the Cardinal the only school to qualify for all 13 National Collegiate Championships since the NCAA first sponsored a women's water polo championship in 2001. Since then, Stanford has appeared in the national championship game on nine occasions and never finished lower than third at the tournament.
Tanner was named ACWPC Coach of the Year in 2012 after guiding the Cardinal to its second straight NCAA title, and third overall. Five times he has been named MPSF Coach of the Year (1998, 2002, 2003, 2007, 2008) and under his watch the Cardinal has captured four MPSF crowns (2000, 2001, 2003, 2006).
Vargas has posted a record of 219-71 since 2002, leading the Cardinal to an NCAA title (2002) and five appearances in the NCAA championship game (2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2008). His previous 11 squads prior to this current season have never finished lower than fourth in the final CWPA Varsity Top 20 Poll.
He was named MPSF Coach of the Year in 2004 and under his watch the Cardinal has won one MPSF Championship title (2004) and made four championship game appearances.
Both programs have had athletes make their marks on the national scene. On the men's side Vargas' players have earned 50 All-America nods, 54 All-MPSF selections, four MPSF Player of the Year awards and four MPSF Newcomer of the Year awards. Driver Tony Azevedo also won three straight Peter J. Cutino Awards (2003-05) which, combined with his honor in 2002 (for the 2001 season) made him the only four-time winner in the award’s history.
The Cardinal women, under Tanner, have earned 80 All-America selections, five Peter J. Cutino Awards (Brenda Villa, 2002; Jackie Frank, 2003; Annika Dries, 2011; Kiley Neushul, 2012; Melissa Seidemann, 2013), four MPSF Player of the Year honors and 80 All-MPSF nods.
Yet the pool is not the only place where Tanner's and Vargas' student-athletes have left their legacies. In the classroom Tanner’s student-athletes have shined, earning 129 national All-Academic nods, two NCAA ELITE 88 Awards (Monica Coughlan, 2010-11), three NCAA Post-Graduate Scholarships (Kate Pettit, 2002; Scotti Shafer, 2006; Monica Coughlan, 2012) and one Pac-10 Post-Graduate Scholarship (Ellen Estes, 2002).
On the men's side the Cardinal has piled up 70 ACWPC national All-Academic nods since 2006, 93 MPSF All-Academic selections since 2005, four NCAA Post-Graduate Scholarships since 2002 (Michael Derse, 2003; Sandy Hohener, 2008; Jimmie Sandman, 2009; Jacob Smith, 2011) and two CoSIDA At-Large Academic All-Americans (Derse, 2003; Hohener, 2009).
At the international level Stanford has been one of the best represented combined water polo programs in the United States. At the 2012 Olympic Games in London Stanford had a combined nine current and former athletes on the U.S. rosters, the largest contingent of any university.
Since the first Olympic women’s water polo tournament in 2000, nine Cardinal players have made a total of 14 appearances at the Games, with long-time U.S. captain Brenda Villa being one of just two players to represent the U.S. at all four Olympiads. Stanford players have helped the U.S. to Olympic Gold at the 2012 London Games as well as two silvers (Sydney 2000, Beijing 2008) and a bronze (Athens 2004).
This past summer the U.S. Senior National Team featured five Cardinal representatives at the FINA World Championship while three current players participated for the U.S. and Canada at the FINA Junior World Championship.
Three players (Azevedo, Peter Hudnut, Peter Varellas) during Vargas' tenure have gone on to make a combined seven appearances on the U.S. Olympic Team. Azevedo played for the U.S. at the 2004 Athens Games and was joined by Hudnut and Varellas for both the 2008 Beijing Games and the 2012 London Games.
Stanford players dotted the various U.S. National Teams this past year as Alex Bowen and Bret Bonanni each made their Senior National Team debuts in 2013, Adam Abdulhamid played at the FINA World Youth Championship in December 2012, and also saw action during summer 2013 on the U.S. Junior National Team with Bonanni, Bowen, Jackson Kimbell and Connor Stapleton.
Vargas currently has Stanford ranked third in the country and off to a 7-1 start in 2013, his 12th season on The Farm. Last weekend he guided the Cardinal to a third-place finish at the NorCal Invitational, capped off with a 12-10 win over host California.
Tanner will begin his 16th campaign at the Cardinal helm this January.