The Corona del Mar High boys water polo team will begin practices for
the fall season Monday with a head coach after Sam Bailey was
selected to lead one of Southern California's proud programs.
CdM Assistant Principal Lee Gaeta phoned Bailey Wednesday
afternoon to offer the 27-year-old San Clemente resident the job
after the two interviewed that morning.
Needless to say, Bailey, who applied for the same position before
last season, didn't think too long about a decision.
"I cannot imagine a better place to coach water polo," said
Bailey, who replaces Mike Evans. Evans was fired after one year at
the helm. "This is one of the most powerful programs with parental
support and administrative support. CdM is located in one of the
greatest hubs for polo in the nation. It is the spot to be."
Bailey, a substitute teacher in the Newport-Mesa Unified School
District, led CdM during the summer session and enters his first high
school head coaching job.
"We expect nothing but great things from Sam in the future," Gaeta
said. "I see Sam providing a spark for the kids. He is an organized,
disciplined young man that provides a mix of youth and experience."
The position opened up to school district employees Aug. 9, but
Gaeta didn't receive any applications or resumes besides that of
Gaeta wasn't surprised he didn't see more interest.
"Most schools have their water polo coaches in place," Gaeta said.
"With it being summertime, there aren't a lot of people looking at
Bailey, a San Clemente resident, played two-meter defense at San
Clemente High and then for national championship teams at UCLA.
Bailey becomes the Sea Kings' third coach in three years following
one-year stints from Evans and Tim Salvino (2002).
CdM won the last of three straight CIF Southern Section Division
II titles in 2001, under then-head man John Vargas, who then took the
men's head coaching job at Stanford.
Vargas guided the Sea Kings to seven CIF championships and four
runner-up finishes in his 19-year tenure.
The Sea Kings open the season against host Harvard-Westlake Sept.
Bailey hopes to create an aura of respect within the program.
"With respect, you build teamwork and with teamwork, everyone
improves," Bailey said. "Where there is improvement, there is
"A lot of times people place too much emphasis on winning and
losing, but success is measured in improvement more than anything
else. The kids are very motivated. I'm looking at having everyone
improve every single day."