After a Quarter Century in Troy, Jovan Vavic Fired as USC Men’s & Women’s Head Water Polo Coach

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USC former head coach Jovan Vavic in happier times; celebrating the 2018 NCAA title. Picture Courtesy: Catharyn Hayne

“Operation Varsity Blues”—the massive federal indictment of college administrators, coaches, parents and advisors—has just claimed the biggest name in American collegiate water polo. According to a statement from USC, Jovan Vavic, the winningest water polo coach in the history of NCAA men’s and women’s competition, has been fired from the job he held for the past 25 years.

FROM THE USC PUBLIC RELATIONS STATEMENT:

We are aware of the ongoing wide-ranging criminal investigation involving universities nationwide, including USC. USC has not been accused of any wrongdoing and will continue to cooperate fully with the government’s investigation. 

We understand that the government believes that illegal activity was carried out by individuals who went to great lengths to conceal their actions from the university. USC is conducting an internal investigation. Donna Heinel and Jovan Vavic have been terminated and the university will take additional employment actions as appropriate.

USC is in the process of identifying any funds received by the university in connection with this alleged scheme. Additionally, the university is reviewing its admissions processes broadly to ensure that such actions do not occur going forward.

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Jovan Vavic with USC’s Amanda Longan, 2018 Cutino Award winner. Photo Courtesy: (c) Catharyn Hayne

This represents a stunning turn of events for one of the greatest coaches in the history of American water polo. Over a career that spanned a quarter century, Vavic won ten men’s titles—including an unprecedented six straight from 2008 through 2013—and six women’s titles. His Trojans are the reigning national champions in both the men’s and women’s bracket, and the Women of Troy are currently riding a 35-match winning streak.

Vavic, who was arrested this morning by FBI agents in Waikiki on a charge of racketeering conspiracy, will now leave the women’s team in the hands of Interim Head Coach Casey Moon. Long-time Vavic associate Marko Pintaric—who was a former player for the Trojans that played on USC’s 1998 NCAA champions, has been named as the interim head coach for the men.

This is a breaking news story and will continue to be updated.

51 Comments
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3 years ago

Receiving bribes and false reports to get kids into college… yeah maybe DIII school will hire you

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3 years ago
Reply to  Tim Johnson

Tim Johnson what an insensitive and insulting remark to those of us with D3 athletes and to the athletes as well.

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3 years ago
Reply to  Tim Johnson

Tim Johnson yes what an ignorant thing to say about D3 schools. My son swam at a D3 and had an excellent coach with morals. This was Greg Earhart who is now the Executive Director for CSCAA.

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3 years ago
Reply to  Tim Johnson

I swam at DIII School. I didn’t mean it as an insult. I meant no school with scholarships for athletics will ever trust him, only schools like D III could take the chance on him

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3 years ago
Reply to  Tim Johnson

By the way I loved my time at my school and wouldn’t change a thing.

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3 years ago
Reply to  Tim Johnson

Tim D3 won’t want a cheater

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3 years ago
Reply to  Tim Johnson

Mary Liston I truly hope not

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3 years ago
Reply to  Tim Johnson

He should not be allowed to coach at any schools

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Anna Kay

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Nerf Guy
3 years ago

Really Michael, a “mistake”…. sorry, but no…. shooting your friend in the eye with a nerf gun is a mistake. This is criminal, call it as such.

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Jim Kenney
3 years ago
Reply to  Nerf Guy

If you read the affidavit, he was different then others and didnt use the funds for personal use and put it into the USC water polo team fund. For all I care, nothing wrong with that and accepted a donation. NOT illegal for a Private institution.

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Anonymous
3 years ago
Reply to  Jim Kenney

Did you miss the part where they paid his kids Tuition at a private high school?

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Anonymous
3 years ago
Reply to  Nerf Guy

Easy there…..you do know the difference between being charge and being found guilty, right? The presumption of innocence is still stands.

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3 years ago

Kari Lupton Leach Jason Leach Jill Lupton

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3 years ago
Reply to  Rachel Leach

Rachel Leach very disappointing to say the least.

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3 years ago

Mark Kruthers

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3 years ago

Will they be going after football and basketball coaches as well?

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3 years ago
Reply to  Rob Duguay

Rob Duguay they are going after everyone, it looks like! ?

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Reply to  Rob Duguay

I hope so!!!!

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3 years ago

Disgrace & Unethical to admit students to pocket bribes is just wrong!!!

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3 years ago

Neil Joseph check this out!

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3 years ago
Reply to  Keri Sullivan

Keri Sullivan cheating fuck

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3 years ago
Reply to  Keri Sullivan

Neil Joseph right!! I am surprised they are just discovering this now

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3 years ago

Ever wonder how the men’s team got so many foreign players?

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IMO
3 years ago

Faked players that got into the school from the scam never got any playing time!!! They don’t even know how to play water polo…that’s the point! Scheme was just to get them INTO a prestigious SCHOOL. Not to gain undeserved spot on the TEAM….big difference! Thus, there’s no undermining of the longtime success of water polo teams’ history

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3 years ago

Colleen Hazlett cause International Water Polo players have lots of experience in the Water Polo community. They start very young.

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3 years ago

Shameful

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3 years ago

Disgraceful

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Marie Curie
3 years ago

I take it a step further – dishonorable, both as an administrator of the program and a trainer/teacher/coach of athletes at any level.

For this to have occurred, it means some unknown but otherwise qualified athlete was denied admittance in favor of a non-athlete who will never contribute to the sport. Take whatever slant you want on whether he personally was paid or the money went to the school, but the bottom line is that in his role as a guide, trainer and coach, he allowed his responsibility to those he coaches to be overshadowed by something else – greed, influence, stupidity, what have you.

How can he be trusted after such an event? Either as a trainer of young athletes or a custodian of any university’s sports program? If guilty, it means he was putting neither the university nor his sport first.

And if you *do* trust him. What does that say about your own standards?

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3 years ago

USC can’t catch a break these days. A student getting killed and now a huge recruiting scandal. There is just to much pressure on where to go to college and the costs.

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3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Ascencio

Mark Ascencio seriously… it’s out of control

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Milos
3 years ago

Jovan Vavic is a good Serb and Serbs don’t do such things

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3 years ago

Jose Busquets
Antonio Busquets

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3 years ago

Fernando Delgado Sellas

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3 years ago

Carlos Berrios Rivera

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3 years ago

Ricardo J. Saade

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3 years ago

Damn.. heard about it!!