LOS ALAMITOS, Calif. March 10. UNITED States Water Polo announced Wednesday that it was reaching into its past to elevate the future. Bill Barnett was selected to coach the United States women at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China. Barnett was the men’s Olympic coach during the 1988 Games in Seoul, South Korea.
Barnett, whose official appointment depends on finalizing a contract, replaces Guy Baker, who led the United States in 2000 and 2004, the only years in which women’s water polo has been an Olympic sport. Barnett selected Heather Moody and Bernice Orwig as assistant coaches. A two-time Olympian, Moody was captain of the 2004 squad while Orwig was a goalkeeper for the 2000 team.
Baker guided the United States to Olympic medals in his two stints, including a bronze medal in Athens last summer. Baker became head of the men’s program in January.
Barnett guided the men’s national team from 1985-92 and helped the United States to the silver medal at the 1988 Games. That Olympiad marked the last time the United States made the medal stand on the men’s side. Since 1997, Barnett has served as the national team video/scout coach.
“The commitee concurred that Bill Barnett was the correct fit to continue the success of our women's program through the next four years,” said Brent Bohlender, Chair of the USWP Women’s International/Olympic Committee that approved Barnett’s selection. “His experience at the international level is as extensive and successful as any coach we have ever had in the United States. We all look forward to the future with Bill and his qualified staff to lead us to the gold in China.”
The women’s team has scheduled its first workout Memorial Day weekend (May 27-30) in Los Alamitos, Calif., at the USWP National Training Center. Between 24-30 players are expected at that session.