Corso Aspires to Job With Olympic Water Polo Team

<i> Times Staff Writer </i>

Bill Barnett is in. So is Dante Dettamanti. Rich Corso wants in.

Barnett, the Newport Harbor High water polo coach, recently was re-elected as coach of the U. S. Olympic team after guiding the squad to a silver medal in the 1988 Summer Olympics. Dettamanti, Stanford’s coach, was named his new assistant.

Corso, the Harvard High water polo coach whose term as coach of the junior national team expired in December, has one more chance to be named to the staff for the next Olympiad. Barnett must appoint him to the final position.


There are 4 candidates in addition to Corso, including El Dorado High Coach Tom Milich, who once served under Barnett at Newport Harbor and is, therefore, considered the favorite. For the past 4 years, Milich has coached the national youth water polo team for players 17 and under.

“I want to stay with the national program,” Corso said. “I think that I can help them with my experience, especially since a lot of the younger players will be moving up.”

Corso was the goalkeeper coach for Olympic Coach Monte Nitzkowski in 1984.

“I was going in there as the longshot,” Corso, 34, said of the Dec. 10 election held by the Men’s International Olympic Water Polo Committee--the U. S. governing body for Olympic water polo. “Bill’s the incumbent and has done a great job.”

Corso, named the Southern Section 2-A Division Coach of the Year this season after leading the Saracens to the 2-A title, said that he expected to hear from Barnett within the next 2 weeks.

“Rich is the best qualified for that position,” said Dettamanti, an assistant on the national B team for the past 4 years. “He’s one of the few goalkeeping specialists we have in this country.”

Like Corso, Dettamanti, 46, ran for the position as head coach.

Corso has coached Harvard for 3 seasons. Should he be named as Barnett’s other assistant, Corso said that he would be able to continue coaching at the school.

“I’m cautiously optimistic,” Corso said.