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USC's Jovan Vavic takes over U.S. men's water polo team

November 21, 2012|By Kevin Baxter
  • USC water polo coach Jovan Vavic roams the sidelines during a scrimmage against UCLA in 2011.
USC water polo coach Jovan Vavic roams the sidelines during a scrimmage… (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles…)

USC's Jovan Vavic has been named interim coach of the U.S. men's water polo program, replacing Terry Schroeder, who has returned to Pepperdine.

Vavic's staff will include UC Irvine Coach Marc Hunt and USC assistant Marko Pintaric as assistants. Hunt guided the U.S. to a fourth-place finish in the World University Games last year. The appointments of Hunt and Pintaric are also on an interim basis.

"Jovan Vavic is a proven winner," said Christopher Ramsey, the CEO of USA Water Polo. "His work ethic and attention to detail is exceptional, and he will be a tremendous leader for our men's national team."

Vavic won more than 85% of his games at USC, where he led the Trojans to 10 national titles while being named national coach of the year 10 times.

His first major tournament with the national team will be January's regional qualifier for the 2013 FINA World Championships. After that tournament, USA Water Polo is expected to appoint a permanent coach for the remainder of the four-year period leading up to the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil.

"We have great potential here in the United States, with some of the best young water polo players in the world," said Vavic, a native of Yugoslavia who began playing water polo when he was 8.

Schroeder, a two-time Olympic silver medalist as a player, coached the U.S. team in the Beijing and London Olympic Games, winning another silver in 2008. A month before the start of the London Games, Schroeder decided he would return to Pepperdine, where he had coached for 20 years.

The U.S. entered the London Games favored for a medal, but the Americans finished fourth in their group before being routed by eventual champion Croatia in the quarterfinals.

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