Passages: 8-Time NCAA Champion Stanford Water Polo Coach Dante Dettamanti Dies at 80

Photo Courtesy: Stanford Athletics

The Stanford men’s water polo program mourns the loss of legendary head coach Dante Dettamanti, who passed away on Oct. 25. Dettamanti was 80.

“It’s hard to imagine any other coach having such a profound impact on their athletes, colleagues and community,” said The Dunlevie Family Director of Men’s Water Polo Brian Flacks. “Undoubtedly, Dante will go down as one of the all-time greats, but his impact was much greater than any win in the pool. He will be deeply missed.”

In his 25 years at Stanford (1977-2001), Dettamanti led the Cardinal to eight NCAA championships, advancing to the NCAA title game 14 times. One of five head coaches in Stanford Athletics history to capture at least eight national titles, Dettamanti became only the second collegiate coach in NCAA history to record over 600 career wins and the only collegiate coach to win NCAA championships in four different decades.

Named national coach of the year six times and league coach of the year on 10 occasions, Dettamanti also had great success on the international stage, coaching the USA World University Games teams to gold and silver medals in 1979 and 1981, the highest finish ever for a USA national team. Over a dozen of his former players went on to achieve success at the Olympics, including Stanford greats Jody Campbell, Wolf Wigo and Tony Azevedo.

Prior to arriving at Stanford, Dettamanti coached at UC Santa Barbara and Occidental College and served as a graduate assistant at UCLA. He earned a degree in engineering from UC Davis and earned his master’s degree in exercise physiology from UCLA after a stint in the US Army.

An impressive athlete in his own right, Dettamanti was one of the original pioneers in the sport of triathlon, placing sixth in the prestigious Hawaii Ironman in 1981.

— The above press release was posted by Swimming World in conjunction with Stanford Athletics. For press releases and advertising inquiries please contact

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Paul Becskehazy
Paul Becskehazy
1 year ago

RIP Dante !
You have done amazing !

You leave an enormous legacy and legions of great Olympians ! Thanks for all your work !

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