Holbrook steps down from Glendale High aquatics to become assistant principal

Forest Holbrook, who coached the Glendale High boys’ water polo team to its first CIF Southern Section championship last fall, resigned his post to become an assistant principal at Crescenta Valley.

Holbrook, who has taught history at Glendale and also coached the girls’ water polo team and the boys’ and girls’ swimming teams since 2009, confirmed Wednesday night that he will begin his new role within the Glendale Unified School District on July 1.

Though his responsibilities for his new job have yet to be outlined, Holbrook said he’s looking forward to taking another step up the education ladder.

“Since I began teaching, I’ve always been interested in educational leadership,” said Holbrook, who piloted the boys’ water polo team to a Division V title in November. “Since I was younger, I was always intrigued about being a principal and I got to learn a lot from [former Glendale Principal] Deb Rinder and [current Glendale Principal] Monica Makiewicz.

“My goal is to be a lot like them and this is the first step in that direction. CV is a fantastic school and I already know some of the teachers, administrators and students. It’s a natural fit.”

Holbrook helped elevate the aquatics programs over the last five seasons at Glendale. In boys’ water polo, he led the Nitros to three straight undefeated Pacific League championships and two straight appearances in the Division V championship match in Irvine.

Glendale lost to Pasadena Poly in the title match in 2012, but the Nitros rebounded last season by spending the majority of the campaign as the top-ranked team in the division before winning the school’s first CIF title since 1989 with a 13-11 victory against Los Altos. In addition, the girls’ water polo team has made multiple postseason appearance during Holbrook’s tenure and the boys’ and swimming teams have had athletes contend for league and CIF titles.

Glendale boys’ athletic director Pat Lancaster said Holbrook served Glendale well in the classroom and on the pool deck.

“You never know what you have coming in because he didn’t have any head coaching experience,” Lancaster said. “He sure made us look good and you couldn’t ask him to do anymore.

“He’s young and enthusiastic. He was the right person at the right time and with the right groups. He’s got a very good temperament and we now have some big shoes to fill. He’s done a great job with all of the teams, plus he’s a very good educator. I’m happy for him.”

Lancaster said he will meet soon with Glendale girls’ athletic director Carol Driffill and assistant principal Fil Lujan to discuss a replacement for Holbrook.

“The search is on and we will look to get a high-caliber coach,” Lancaster said.

Holbrook said winning a CIF championship was the highlight of his coaching career.

“It’s something that’s very exciting and something I’ll never forget,” said Holbrook, whose team finished 22-6. “I’m leaving all of the programs knowing they got stronger and tasted a lot of success.

“We got a lot done and the students and athletes got a lot out of it. That’s something that I’m proud of.”

Arman Momdzhyan, the reigning All-Area Boys’ Water Polo Player of the Year, said Holbrook made the boys’ water polo team prolific.

“He’s a great coach,” Momdzhyan said. “He made practices fun and there was always a lot of energy.

“You always wanted to come to practice to learn and have some fun. He’s a ball of energy with a lot of knowledge. It’s awesome for him and well-deserved to move up. Any school would be lucky to have him. We were.”

Follow Charles Rich on Twitter: @TCNCharlesRich.

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