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John Tanner
Position: The Dunlevie Family Director of Women's Water Polo
Alma Mater: Stanford (1982)
Experience: 18 Years

  • 2008 MPSF Co-Coach of the Year
  • 2007 MPSF Coach of the Year
  • 2003 MPSF Coach of the Year
  • 2002 MPSF Coach of the Year
  • 1998 MPSF Coach of the Year

    John Tanner enters his 15th season at the helm of the Stanford women's water polo program. An experienced and enthusiastic coach, Tanner took on the developing program in 1997 and has since turned it into a nationally-ranked powerhouse that has produced two NCAA Championships, four MPSF Championships, 14 U.S. National Team members, and six Olympians. Under Tanner's watch, Stanford is the only women's water polo program in the nation to have competed at all 10 NCAA Championships since its inception in 2001, and has finished in the top-three nationally each season since he came on board in 1997. Tanner now holds a 351-56 (.862) career coaching record at Stanford.

    Last year Tanner led the Cardinal to the seventh NCAA Championship Game appearance in program history as well as to a perfect 7-0 record in MPSF play. Overall, the Cardinal went 26-3 in 2010, claiming the Stanford Invitational title along the way. Five Cardinal athletes were named All-Americans while 10 received national All-Academic recognition following the season, and at the National Collegiate Championship Stanford's Monica Coughlan was named the NCAA ELITE 88 award winner, given to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average competing at an NCAA finals.

    In 2009, Tanner guided the Cardinal to a record of 26-4 (6-1 MPSF) and claimed a third-place national finish at the National Collegiate Women's Water Polo Championship. Four members of the team were named All-Americans by the ACWPC, and 11 were named Academic All-Americans. For the second straight year, a Stanford player also captured the MPSF Newcomer of the Year award, as Melissa Seidemann took home the honor.

    Tanner earned the fifth MPSF Coach of the Year honor of his career in 2008 after leading the Cardinal to a 27-5 overall record and an 11-1 mark in MPSF play. Under Tanner's guidance, Stanford brought home a third-place national finish as well as placing four players on the ACWPC All-America Team, six on the All-MPSF Teams, including freshman goalie Amber Oland capturing Newcomer of the Year honors, and seven on the MPSF All-Academic Team.

    Stanford posted a 27-3 overall record and reached the NCAA championship game for the sixth time in program history in 2007. His Cardinal squad featured five AWPCA All-Americans, an astounding 10 AWPCA Academic All-Americans, and eight members of both the MPSF All-Conference and All-Academic teams. For his part, Tanner earned his fourth career MPSF Coach of the Year honor.

    In 2006, Tanner led his squad to its fourth MPSF Championship and a 24-5 overall record. The Cardinal reached the national semifinals for the tenth-straight season and boasted five AWPCA All-Americans, five Academic All-Americans, five All-Conference honorees, and seven Academic All-Conference honorees.

    In 2005, Tanner's squad earned runner-up honors at both the MPSF and NCAA Championships, finishing with a 21-7 overall record. The Cardinal boasted four AWPCA All-Americans, as well as eight Academic All-Americans and MPSF All-Academic selections.

    During the 2004 season, Stanford earned third place at the NCAA Championships, following a second-place finish at the MPSF Championships. Posting a 19-5 overall record, the Cardinal was recognized not only for its superior athletic performance, but for its academic achievement as well. Three players were named All-Americans, and seven student-athletes were named MPSF Academic All-Conference and Academic All-Americans.

    In 2003, Tanner was named the MPSF Coach of the Year for the second consecutive season after the Cardinal finished first in the MPSF Tournament and placed second in the NCAA Tournament. The Cardinal wrapped up the season with a 21-3 overall record with the help of MPSF Player of the Year Brenda Villa and Goalie of the Year Jackie Frank.

    In 2002, he led the Cardinal to its first NCAA Championship and a 23-2 record. The Cardinal earned its first NCAA title, with the help of five All-Americans. Tanner was named the MPSF Coach of the Year for the most successful season in program history.

    In 2001, the Cardinal finished second at the NCAA Championships with a 27-1 record, after becoming the first-ever collegiate team to remain undefeated during the regular season.

    The 2000 Cardinal posted a record of 28-5 on its way to a third-place finish at the Collegiate Nationals, and boasted five All-Americans, four players named to Collegiate National All-Tournament teams, and eight Academic All-Americans.

    In 1999, the team posted a 25-6 record and placed second at the Collegiate Nationals, falling to USC 7-6 in five overtimes in the Championship game.

    In his first year as head coach in 1998, Tanner led Stanford to a 29-6 record and a third place finish at the Collegiate National Championships. That same year, he was named MPSF Coach of the Year, having, at the time, led the Cardinal to its most successful season in the history of the program.

    A former Stanford water polo All-American himself, Tanner returned to his alma mater with a fortune of knowledge gained from years of coaching, both at the collegiate and international levels. Tanner has been involved with United States Water Polo in various capacities from 1988 to the present. He was the assistant coach of the U.S. Men's National Team that placed sixth at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. He garnered the second World Championship of his career in 1997 as the Americans captured the World Cup in Athens, Greece.

    Tanner began his international coaching career in 1988 as a scout coach for the U.S. National "A" Team. In December of 1998, he was appointed as head coach of the U.S. National "B" Team, a position he held until early 1991. In March of 1991, he was named the assistant coach of the U.S. Olympic Team. He helped the U.S. squad capture gold at the 1991 World Cup and a fourth-place finish at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona.

    In 1980, while a student-athlete at Stanford, Tanner became involved with coaching when he served as the head coach at Menlo-Atherton High School for one season. He then coached Menlo School for the 1983 season. In 1984, he served as an assistant coach for the Stanford men's water polo team under his former coach Dante Dettamanti, when the team advanced to the NCAA title match and finished the year with a 25-5 mark.

    Following the 1984 season, Tanner was hired as the head coach of the men's water polo team at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California. In 1988, he was named the school's Director of Aquatics and the head coach of the men's swimming program, holding all three titles until his appointment at Stanford in 1996. His teams finished in the top 15 in the nation all of his 12 years and in the top-10 each of his last 10 years. He captured Big West Conference Coach-of-the-Year honors in 1991, and in 1993 his squad finished fifth at the NCAA Championships.

    As the men's swimming coach at Pacific, he led the Tigers to a top-20 finish at the NCAA Tournament and coached Brad Schumacher, Pacific's first and only Olympic gold medalist in any sport. Tanner served as Schumacher's coach at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, where he earned two gold medals as a member of the U.S. 4x100-meter and 4x200-meter free relay teams.

    Originally recruited from Menlo-Atherton High School to swim at Stanford, Tanner instead played on the water polo team his freshman year, beginning a career (1978-82) that spanned three national championships and culminated in All-America honors his senior year. Tanner, a left-handed driver, started for the Cardinal in 1981 and helped lead Stanford to a perfect 31-0 record and its fourth national crown. The undefeated season was only the second in NCAA water polo history. Tanner ranked sixth on the team in goals in 1981, with 27, and was named All-America Honorable Mention. In 1982, he finished his career with a 48-goal performance, tying for second on the squad, and helped lead the Cardinal to a 27-5 record and its third-straight NCAA championship match appearance. Tanner was named to the NCAA All-Tournament Team, and, for his efforts throughout the season, earned All-America honors. He graduated in December 1982 with a bachelor's degree in political science.

    In addition to coaching, Tanner has been a prominent member of several committees with United States Water Polo. He has served on the men's and women's National Team Head Coach Selection Committees, the Men's International/Olympic Committee and the National Coaches Committee. Tanner is also a member of the American Water Polo Coaches Association and United States Water Polo, Inc.