A look into the people of Water Polo, who they are, what they have done, and what they have learned along the way. This is a series highlighting some of water polo’s best minds and athletes over the past 50 years. Featuring CWPA Hall of Fame member, George Gross Jr., providing listeners with a conversation about what helped good players, coaches, and administrators reach the top of the game. New Episodes release on the first and third Tuesday of every month. Be sure to subscribe to get the latest episodes!
This episode is a special release for the holidays and gives us a chance to find out more about our host!
George Gross, Jr. started at goaltender for an exceptional Yale University men’s water polo team from 1971-1973. Yale ruled the East during that time, winning the Eastern Championship three times, and competing at the NCAA Championship in 1972. In honor of his success, Gross was named first member of the Yale Water Polo Hall of Fame, CWPA Hall of Fame, Ontario Aquatics Hall of Fame, and Etobicoke Sports Hall of Fame. Upon returning home to Canada after graduating from Yale, Gross played for the University of Toronto men’s team for two seasons and earned a roster spot on the Canadian Men’s National Team and enjoyed a long and successful career as an international player. He played in two Olympic Games (1976 and 1984), scoring the longest goal in Olympic water polo history versus China in 1984 and serving as Canada’s flag-bearer at the 1986 games. After the conclusion of his international playing career, Gross served as Head Coach of the Canadian Men’s National Team twice, from 1987-1991. In addition, he founded the Toronto City Golden Jets water polo club and served as head coach/player from 1980-84 and 1986-1991. Under his guidance, the club grew from 12 initial members to 125 members in men’s, women’s, junior and senior levels of play.
Gross currently gives back as a commentator and announcer for water polo broadcasts. He has done color commentary work on national television in Canada for three World Championships and two Olympic Games, while also providing play-by-play of the women’s international Canada Cup from Olympic Stadium in Montreal, Canada. The “Voice of the CWPA”, Gross has announced the Women’s NCAA Championship, the CWPA National Collegiate Club Championship (both men and women), the CWPA Championship, the CWPA Division III Championship and the Mid-Atlantic Water Polo Conference (MAWPC).
Fordham University former Head Coach, and current Associate Head Coach, Bill Harris enter his 17th season as part of the Rams' water polo program. During his time at Fordham he has compiled five trips to the CWPA Championship (2009-10, 2013-15) and four to the Mid-Atlantic Water Polo (MAWPC) Championship (2016-19). Under Harris' leadership, the Rams have seen sustained recent success, posting three straight winning seasons (2015-17), six straight seasons of at least 16 wins (2014-19), and a Top 20 national ranking in multiple seasons for the first time since the 1980s. The team has also been recognized by the NCAA for its Academic Progress Rate (APR) score six times. Since 2004, Harris has brought respect back to Fordham as he helped 13 Rams earn All-CWPA Northern Division honors from 2005-14. The former girls' varsity coach at Greenwich High School (Conn.), he served as the travel team coach for Greenwich Youth Water Polo from 2000-03, while also serving as an Age Group coach for the New York Athletic Club from 1995-2003. Harris was also the head coach for the NYAC Men's Team from 1982-87. A 1997 U.S. Water Polo Hall of Fame inductee, Harris had a prolific playing career at St. Francis College, where he was a 1966 NCAA All-America selection and a four-time Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) All-Star Team selection, while helping St. Francis to four ECAC Championships and an undefeated conference record in those four seasons. He later was selected to the St. Francis College Athletic Hall of Fame in 1990. Following his collegiate career, Harris represented the New York Athletic Club from 1967-92, where he was a member of eight National Championship teams. He was selected First Team All-America eight times as a member of the NYAC, and was 1973 and 1977 MVP for the National Championship Tournaments. Harris was also named MVP of the NYAC Paul Wacker Tournament on three separate occasions (1975, 1978, and 1980), and earned MVP honors of the North American Cup in 1977.
Alan Huckins is in his third season as an assistant men's coach at the United States Air Force Academy. He previously spent 15 seasons as the head coach of the Hartwick College women’s water polo team prior to the program being discontinued after the 2018 season. During his 15 years on the Hartwick bench, he led the Hawks to 20 or more wins 14 times and compiled an overall record of 396-173. Under his guidance, the Hawks qualified for the NCAA Championships three times and captured three CWPA Eastern Championships (2004, 2006, 2007) in five title game appearances (2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009). In addition, he coached four Olympians, and was named The CWPA Northern Division Coach of the Year four times (2005, 2006, 2007, and 2010). A 1992 graduate of Slippery Rock University, Huckins is an experienced coach on the international, collegiate, high school and club levels. Huckins served as assistant coach for the United States Women's National Water Polo "A" Team from 1995-1998 and also worked as an assistant coach for the U.S. Women's National "B" Team from 1993-1995. In addition, he has previous experiences as a head swimming/water polo coach at Florida Atlantic University, Bucknell University, Slippery Rock, The College of Saint Rose and Beyer High School (Calif.).
Barry King has risen to stand among the ranks of the premier coaches in the Collegiate Water Polo Association. During his tenure at Indiana University, he guided the Hoosiers to 20 or more wins in 17 of 19 seasons with five conference championships and a staggering total of more than 400 wins. He brought his excellence to Washington, D.C., where he serves as the head men's and women's coach at George Washington University. Among the inaugural coaches to begin recruiting international student-athletes, he helped the GW men's team achieve the program's first league titles with back-to-back Mid-Atlantic Water Polo Conference (MAWPC) crowns in 2017 and 2018.
Ted Minnis stands as the 10th and most successful mentor in the history of the men's and women's Water Polo programs at Harvard University. An aquatics tactician, Minnis coached the Crimson men to three Northeast Water Polo Conference titles (2016, 2017, 2019) and has led a resurgence of both the men's and women's teams at arguably the most prestigious school in the country. Minnis' path to Cambridge is among the most unique in any collegiate sport. Despite not competing in water polo beyond high school, the gregarious mentor of the Crimson came to Harvard following previous experience at Castilleja School in Palo Alto, the USA Water Polo National Youth Team, and the Stanford Water Polo club. Some of his accolades include the 2017 USA Water Polo Olympic Development Coach of the Year, a two-time Positive Coaching Alliance Coach of the Year finalist, and The Friends of Harvard Water Polo and James Herscot '58 Coach of Excellence.
A 2014 inductee to the CWPA Hall of Fame, former United States Naval Academy head coach Mike Schofield retired in 2013 after leading the Midshipmen to nine CWPA/Eastern Championships during his 29-year tenure on the Navy bench as the squad competed in 13 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Tournaments. Twenty-one Navy athletes earned 31 All-America honors under Schofield, and Navy was represented on the All-America team in each of the last 14 years of his career. Schofield is the school’s all-time winningest coach, compiling an astonishing 631 wins in 28+ years in charge of the Navy water polo program.
We are launching a new Podcast - PoloCAST! We are taking a look at some of the most prominent people in Water Polo, where they came from, what have they experienced, and what they have learned along the way. Here is an introduction to the podcast with a little bit about our host - George Gross Jr.
Don't forget to subscribe, we are releasing 2 episodes a month, with some bonus episodes sprinkled in along the way.