United States Water Polo’s United Airlines Coaches of the Year will participate in the United States Olympic Committee’s third annual coaching recognition program September 17-20 in Houston. USWP/United Airlines Elite Coach of the Year Guy Baker, Long Beach, Calif., and USWP/United Airlines Development Coach of the Year Rick Azevedo, Long Beach, Calif., will be recognized with coaches from the 42 other Olympic sports. In addition, University of North Carolina coaching legend Dean Smith will be honored. ESPN’s Roy Firestone will act as the keynote speaker.
GUY BAKER — UNITED AIRLINES ELITE COACH OF THE YEAR
Baker, of Long Beach, Calif., has been named the United Airlines Elite Coach of the Year by United States Water Polo. Baker led the 1998 UCLA women’s team to a third consecutive Women’s Collegiate title in May. Over the past three seasons, the Bruins have compiled a record of 95-3. In March, Baker, who was serving as assistant coach to the United States Men’s National Team, was named head coach of the Women’s National Team. In its first competition with Baker at the helm, the US women’s team captured first place at the Yugoslavian Invitational Tournament in June. In July, the squad finished fourth at the prestigious Dutch Trophy Tournament in Holland. Baker has coached the UCLA men to two NCAA titles (1995, 1996) and served as an assistant coach for the 1992 Olympic Team.
RICK AZEVEDO — UNITED AIRLINES DEVELOPMENT COACH OF THE YEAR
Azevedo, of Long Beach, Calif., has been named the United Airlines Development Coach of the Year by United States Water Polo. Azevedo led the Long Beach Wilson HS boys to a second consecutive CIF-Southern Section Division I championship in 1997 and guided the girls team to the title match in February 1998. Azevedo enjoyed success in the club ranks as well, as Shore Aquatics of Long Beach won a Junior Olympic title in the 14-under boys division in 1998 and the 15-under boys division in 1997. In 1997, the Shore boys team also qualified for the Speedo Cup National Age Group Championships for the fourth straight year, capturing the bronze medal.