Radmonovich Steps Down After Nine Superb Years Leading Wagner Water Polo

radmonovich-current
Chris Radmonovic, one of the winningest coaches in school history, steps down from Wagner's polo program. Photo Courtesy: Wagner Athletics

In a stunning and frankly distressing development for Northeastern college water polo fans, Chris Radmonovich, who over a decade established a powerhouse women’s program at Wagner College and led his team to six-straight Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference titles, has stepped down after nine years as head coach for the Seahawk women and three seasons leading their men.

In a brief statement, Brendan Fahey, Wagner Deputy Director of Athletics, thanked one of the most successful coaches in school history who is stepping away from a remarkably successful program and—potentially—ending his involvement with the sport.

Last week, Chris Radmonovich informed me that he was stepping down as our Head Water Polo Coach for family reasons. I am forever grateful for everything that Chris has accomplished with our program. This includes the tremendous success we had in the pool and in the classroom, as well as the outstanding leadership he provided for our student-athletes. I strongly believe that Chris is one of the most talented coaches in the country, and he will be missed.

Wagner College is committed to our Water Polo Teams and have launched a national search to find a successor to continue our great tradition of excellence.

The excellence of the program that Radmonovich cultivated is mind-boggling. In addition to an unprecedented six-straight MAAC titles, which qualified the Seahawks for berths in the NCAA Women’s Water Polo Tournament from 2014 – 2019, Radmonovich’s women fashioned a 56-match regular-season winning streak in MAAC play, the longest such string of success in conference history. But for a controversial ruling by the conference, the streak would have continued through this year’s tournament, where Wagner annihilated Virginia Military Institute 25-2 then dominated Marist by a score of 8-4—the sixth-straight time the Seahawks ended the Red Foxes’ season.

[Wagner Women’s Water Polo Captures 6th Straight MAAC Title With 8-4 Win over Marist]

Perhaps most telling of their coach’s organizational skills and ability to prepare his players to succeed, four years ago Radmonovich launched a men’s team at the small, liberal arts college on New York City’s Staten Island. Often, a new program’s inaugural season is filled with lopsided losses and a plethora of freshman mistakes. Not the Seahawk men; they shocked local power St Francis Brooklyn in early September, 2016—the very first meeting between the programs—with Radmonovich’s youngsters pinning a 12-11 loss on the Terriers. Later that same season, the Seahawks took down New York City rivals Fordham and Iona while compiling a 10-20 record, a remarkable accomplishment for a first year program.

wagner-maac-apr19

Seahawk women celebrating a 6th straight MAAC title. Photo Courtesy: Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference

2017 produced even more impressive resultsfor Radmonovic and his men’s side. Not only did Wagner experience a four-win improvement from the previous year, the team stunned Bucknell, the defending Mid-Atlantic Water Polo Conference in the postseason, advancing to the MAWPC final, where the Seahawks dropped an 8-5 decision to George Washington.

With a roster peppered with experienced juniors and seniors, the Wagner men—if led by their only coach the program had ever known—would be considered a contender for the 2019 MAWPC title and a berth in the 2019 NCAA Men’s Water Polo Tournament. Radmonovich had already brought in nine freshmen from all over the world, as well as junior conference transfer from Juco power Golden Valley West. Whoever takes over the men will be well-positioned for success.

[Wagner Men’s Water Polo Report: Seahawks Flying High Despite Obstacles Below]

On the women’s side, the past six MAAC players of the year have been Seahawks, including Jess Lundgren (2013-2016) who scored an astounding 428 goals in her four years on Staten Island, and registered 237 assists—665 points in all, best in conference history. Radmonovic ends his career with a record of 223 – 103 for the women and 42-51 for the men. He is responsible for the only NCAA wins in school history; the Seahawk women beat UC San Diego in the 2017 and 2018 NCAA Women’s Tournament.

The MAAC, the East and U.S. intercollegiate water polo in general is that much poorer for the loss of one the most devoted and tenacious coaches in the sport.

1 comment