Michigan Names Cassie Churnside Women’s Water Polo Coach

Photo Courtesy: Harvard Athletics

Michigan Names Cassie Churnside Women’s Water Polo Coach

Michigan has announced the hiring of Cassie Churnside as the program’s new women’s water polo coach.

Churnside spent the last eight seasons as an assistant coach at Harvard University, working with both the men’s and women’s teams.

“First, I would like to thank (director of athletics) Warde Manuel for this opportunity,” Churnside said in a university statement. “I am very excited about the opportunity of leading the Michigan women’s water polo program. Being able to work at an institution with such a high caliber of scholar-athletes, and an athletic department that has a history full of traditions and competitive success is a dream come true. I cannot wait to step on campus and begin this great journey with these amazing women.”

Harvard is coming off its first CWPA finals appearance in 2022. The team posted a 23-7 overall record, earned four all-conference honorees and four ACWPC All-American honors, led by Inde Halligan’s third-team nod.

Churnside was on the staff of the Harvard team that went 27-0 in the regular season in 2019, a sixth straight 20-win season.

Churnside hails from Orange, Calif. She played for Stanford, leading the Cardinal to national championships in 2011 and 2012. She graduated in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in communications.

“I am so excited, happy, and proud of Cassie,” Harvard coach Ted Minnis said. ‘She is not only an amazing coach and leader but an even better person. I am going to miss seeing her every day here at Harvard! She has worked so hard to set herself up for this opportunity, and I know she will excel.”

Churnside replaces Marcelo Leonardi, whose contract was not renewed in June. He posted a 190-70 record in eight seasons leading the Wolverines, including a 54-2 record in CWPA competition. Michigan went 26-9 in 2021-22, winning its fifth league title and sixth tournament title.

“I am thrilled to welcome Cassie to U-M as our head coach,” Michigan AD Warde Manuel said. “Cassie is highly regarded in the water polo community and has demonstrated high character throughout her ascension from a national championship student-athlete to a successful coach and mentor.”