Menlo-Atherton has hired Giovanni Napolitano as its new boys' varsity water polo coach following the retirement of legendary coach Dante Dettamanti.
Napolitano was the Bears' junior varsity coach this season and assisted Dettamanti during a fine season that saw M-A reach the Central Coast Section Division I championship match before falling to Bellarmine, 9-8.
"One of the most important priorities for me is to instill a love for water polo that can last a lifetime," said Napolitano. "As a coach, I want to keep players interested in continuing to participate from year to year. I will always be a supportive coach that can teach and motivate in a positive way. I will always challenge all my players at an appropriate level to foster improvement.
"Communication with my players is very important for a successful season. As a coach, it's very important to teach the value of sportsmanship. I want my team to show joy when they make an exciting play, but not at the expense of the player on the opposing team. I want my players to always show the other team respect."
Napolitano grew up playing water polo in Italy and played professionally for many years. Among his many accomplishments as a professional player are winning titles in the European League and the European Comen Cup, in addition to being an MVP of the Italian League.
He began his coaching career with C.C. Ortigia in Italy in 1994 and led his 14U team to five straight Italian National Championships. In the United States, he coached locally at Woodside and Palo Alto highs before re-joining the M-A staff in 2012 as the head JV coach and assistant varsity coach.
"Gio has been an outstanding member of the M-A water polo staff who has earned the respect of his players, parents, and M-A community," wrote M-A co-athletic director Steve Kryger. "Gio is very patient and supportive and treats his players fairly and with respect. He has a thorough knowledge of water polo and a great ability to teach all facets of the game."