Passages: Nick Martin, Former Olympic Water Polo Player, Longtime Coach Dies at 87


Nicholas “Nick” Martin, who served as Pasadena City College men’s water polo head coach for 27 seasons, died Monday at the age of 87. He had suffered a massive stroke 14 months earlier and passed away in home hospice care in Pasadena.

Martin spent not only a long career as a coach at PCC, but taught for 44 years as a full-time language instructor and associate professor teaching French at the college, retiring in 2011. He continued teaching part-time at PCC and stayed in shape with morning swims at PCC’s Aquatic Center.


Photo Courtesy: Pasadena City College

Then known as Miklos Martin was a member of both the 1952 and 1956 Hungarian Olympic gold medal-winning water polo teams. In 1956, he was one of many members of the Hungary Olympic team that chose to defect because of political unrest in his home country. Martin defected to the United States and eventually received the first water polo scholarship offered by USC.

In 2012, Martin participated in a video interview at the PCC Aquatic Center that was broadcast by CNN/Sports Illustrated story, featuring members of the Hungarian water polo team and their plight during the 1956 Melbourne Games.

Martin coached PCC Sports Hall of Famer John Siman, a U.S. Olympic water polo player after playing for him at PCC.

Another top player of Martin’s was Erik Zimmerman, who set a PCC goal-scoring record with a state record 212 goals in the 1991 season. Men’s water polo was discontinued at PCC in the late 1990s. PCC continues to carry women’s water polo as part of its current 16 intercollegiate sports.

Martin is survived by his wife Chimene and he has one daughter.

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