Jesse Smith, a five time Olympian and 2008 silver medalist, will be the new head coach of water polo at Coronado High School.
Coronado High School Athletic Director Robin Nixon recently made the announcement that Smith would take over a stacked program, including a girls squad that won back-to-back CIF championships.
Nixon said Coronado High School was thrilled to bring in someone with such an impressive background in water polo, but she said what’s more important are his ties to the school.
Not only is he heavily invested in the growth of water polo in Coronado, but Smith has shown he cares about the community, she said.
“To have someone who is passionate about their sport is always a plus and Jesse seems truly dedicated to growing our program as well as growing the popularity of waterpolo in our community.”– Coronado High School Athletic Director Robin Nixon on Jesse Smith.
“To have someone who is passionate about their sport is always a plus and Jesse seems truly dedicated to growing our program as well as growing the popularity of waterpolo in our community,” Nixon said.
Smith is used to winning as a coach and player, and now wearing the familiar green and black of the Islanders, he has even more reason to want to win.
“Being an alumnus myself I think there is a special bond to having your old school succeed. There seems to be more of a buy in,” said Nixon.
When Smith was a student-athlete at Coronado, he surely did his part in instilling a winning attitude within the program.
Smith led the Islanders to three straight Division II CIF Championships from 1998 to 2000, and that winning streak earned him the title of San Diego Union-Tribune Player of the Year in 1999 and 2000.
Preparing athletes for the future
According to Smith, winning isn’t the only thing he’s come back to Coronado to do.
Preparing student athletes for the future, and ensuring each kid grows in some aspect of the game is just as important to Smith.
“While I am competitive and would love to win everything, I believe it’s more important to focus on the journey and consider what kind of athlete, person, and teammate one is along the way,” said Smith.
When he isn’t playing for Team USA or other pro clubs around the world, Smith runs clinics or coaches high-level athletes.
“Initially, I mostly coached elite players and clinics, but now, coaching all ages and connecting with kids, parents, and families in our community is something new and exciting,” Smith said. “I see great potential for both the boys’ and girls’ teams and the community as a whole.”
The boys’ season doesn’t start until the fall with the girls beginning in the winter, so Smith will have some time to acclimate himself with a community in which he already has relatively close ties.
According to the new head coach, his goals are to further engage with the community and get more alumni involved—whether that be in a coaching role or other position.
“There’s something incredibly special about returning to Coronado High School.”– New water polo coach Jesse Smith
“There’s something incredibly special about returning to Coronado High School, my alma mater, where it all began. I’m incredibly excited about this opportunity and grateful for the support,” said Smith.