SAN DIEGO — After 24 years of coaching swimming and water polo at Crawford High School, Dick Draz finally has his wish of a swimming pool for his athletes. The pool comes with Draz's new position as swimming and water polo coach at San Diego Mesa College.
Draz, who was recently named National Swimming Coach of the Year, will remain at Crawford as a health and physical education instructor. But he said that being forced to have workouts at pools throughout the county had begun to take its toll.
Crawford is one of several schools in the county that has aquatic teams but no pool. During the past year, Draz brought his team to the Allied Gardens recreation pool to work out.
"I probably would have stayed at Crawford if we had a pool," said Draz, who guided the Crawford swim team to 298 victories, including 15 conference titles and five San Diego Section championships. During his 17 years as water polo coach, Draz's teams were 322-106-1 overall.
Draz said it is hard to leave Crawford because he "basically started" the swimming and water polo teams there but added that coaching at Mesa will give him "a new challenge."
"I feel great (about coaching at Mesa)," he said. "I've got a pool. The competition will be tough, so I also have a new challenge."
Crawford High is still searching for a replacement for Draz.
At the annual convention of the National High School Coaches Athletic Assn. on June 21, Draz was named National Swimming Coach of the Year.
"I was very surprised," Draz said of the award. "It's something to be the top of your field. . . . I've seen a lot of coaches drop by the wayside after only a few years of coaching, but I stayed with it."
Preps at a glance: Tracy Crawford, San Diego Section champion in the discus last season, placed third at a dual meet Monday between the United States and Romania in Romania with a toss of 151-feet 1-inch. . . . Chris Jeter, who accepted a basketball scholarship with the University of Missouri last winter while attending Morse High, has left Missouri and plans to play for the University of Nevada Las Vegas next year as a walk-on. . . . Rustin (Rusty) Patrick, a star in football, basketball and baseball at Mission Bay High, died after a June 29 auto accident in San Diego. He was 17.
Coaches' comings and goings: Poway High football Coach Dave Boulware resigned to become a full-time counselor at the school. He will assist the Titans as receivers coach this season.