Bailey takes CdM helm

Bryce Alderton

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

the postings."

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."

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