Director of Athletics Jeff Martinez recently announced that head men's water polo coach Tom Whittemore will step down from his coaching post at Redlands, effective Tuesday, December 31. After 32 years of coaching various aquatics teams at Redlands, Whittemore will remain involved as a member of the faculty and Chair of the Physical Education Department.
"Although I am done coaching, I am extremely appreciative of the opportunity the U of R has offered me to stay on as a faculty member moving forward. I also want to express my most heartfelt gratitude to my mentor and friend, Athletic Director Jeff Martinez, for all he has done to support me and my family. I am unquestionably a Bulldog for Life," Whittemore commented.
Whittemore came to Redlands in 1988 following a two-year assistant coaching stint at his alma mater, Claremont McKenna College. Since joining the Bulldog staff, he has built the Redlands aquatics programs into national powerhouses, working at one time or another as the head men's and women's water polo and swimming coach, assistant swimming coach, and director of aquatics.
"I've spent more than half my life coaching at the U of R, and it has been a truly memorable and rewarding experience. I will be forever grateful that the U of R was willing to take a chance on me as a young and inexperienced coach 32 years ago. The student-athletes I have coached and my colleagues in the Athletic Department are first-rate and have enriched my life in ways they will never know. I have had the unique experience to work side-by-side every day with my wife Leslie while raising our family in a wonderful community. I couldn't have asked for anything more," Whittemore stated.
Whittemore has claimed nearly 950 total wins between the two water polo programs. He finished his women's water polo tenure with a career record of 394-250 and tallied a mark of 542-442 in men's water polo. Overall, he has coached eight NCAA Division III Players of the Year, including three men and five women.
During his storied career, Whittemore guided the men's water polo team to eight conference championships. He was named the Western Water Polo Association Men's Coach of the Year in 1998, 2001, and 2004. During the 2004 season, Whittemore led the Bulldogs to their best finish at the WWPA Championships with a second-place showing.
From 1994-1999, Whittemore coached the U of R women's water polo team to five-consecutive Collegiate III National Championships and added three more titles in 2002, 2004 and 2006. For his efforts, Whittemore was named the American Water Polo Association Coach of the Year six times.
In addition, the Bulldogs became the first Division III school to participate in the newly-expanded NCAA Women's Water Polo Championships when the team captured the conference's automatic bid in 2005. That year Whittemore was named the Division III Coach of the Year while coaching the Division III Player of the Year. Since the women's water polo team's move to varsity status in 1994, Whittemore coached the Bulldogs to 10 SCIAC championships, including four-straight from 2000-2003.
As the men's and women's swimming coach from 1988-1995, Whittemore successfully guided his teams on an upward climb through the conference. In 1993, one of his student-athletes, Greg Milton, captured the NCAA Division III Championship in the 100 Freestyle. Whittemore also led the Bulldogs to the program's first SCIAC Championship in 1994.
"It is difficult to find the right words that capture the contributions, successes, and mentorship that Tom has shared with this institution and his student-athletes throughout his career. He has been a tremendous colleague to work with the past 32 years and I am grateful he will be staying in our department," commented Martinez.
Ryan Hall, Assistant men's and women's water polo coach, has agreed to step into the role of "interim" head men's water polo coach, effective January 1, 2020.
-- Courtesy of Redlands Sports Information --