The Cuesta College’s Men’s Water Polo team wrapped up their 2022-2023 season with a 29-9 record, led by previous Head Coach John Marsh.
Following Marsh’s retirement, the water polo team began a search for a new head coach. With the season fast approaching, the search had not yet been fulfilled.
“Myself and the rest of the guys on the team were really bummed out when Marsh told us he was retiring,” said Toby Jones, a freshman utility player on the Cuesta Men’s Water Polo team. “Marsh was the reason most of us came to Cuesta to play water polo.”
With the help of Cuesta’s Athletic Director Bob Mariucci, and Women’s Water Polo Head Coach Rachel Gruetzmacher, the men’s team was able to start their season while awaiting a new coach.
“The pool was a pretty sad place for two months until Coach Enloe arrived,” Jones said.
Greg Enloe lost only one game during his first tournament as the new head coach. Enloe played for UC Irvine, as well as having a professional career playing in the 2011 World University games.
“Enloe is more than I ever hoped for as a coach this season,” said Dante Ianora, captain of the Men’s Water Polo team. “He came in, and didn’t change our whole system, just integrated himself into it.”
Cuesta’s Men’s Water Polo team was left without a coach for two months as they began the new 2023-2024 season. The team made a commitment to the season, and continued to show up for games and practice.
“Only a few players decided to red shirt for the season, but all the boys stepped up the challenge of their upcoming season,” Jones said.
Redshirting for a season allows players to keep a year of eligibility for their sport by only practicing and not playing in games.
“Even though we didn’t have a coach, all the guys still wanted to have the best season possible,” Jones said.
Ianora committed to his position as captain of the Men’s Water Polo team by showing up for himself and the team with a practice plan. He added that a team without a coach can only do so much to keep players committed and eventually, it becomes a personal choice.
“Giving more was on them,” Ianora said.
So far, the Cuesta Men’s Water Polo team is adapting well to their new head coach.
“These last two weeks with Enloe have been a huge motivation for the team,” Jones said. “We’re finally having some good intense and structured practices and it is definitely showing,”
Ianora said the eight weeks the team spent without a head coach brought them together as a team and family, adding that he felt the team’s cohesion would give them an advantage over other teams and that they could win the state title this year.
“All we hav,e to do is give 100% every day,” Ianora said.