May 17, 2002
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - After leading the Santa Clara University men's and women's water polo programs over the last four seasons, Bronco head coach Steve Hanson is retiring from coaching collegiate water polo to return to school and pursue a graduate degree, SCU's Director of Athletics Cheryl L. Levick announced today.
"Santa Clara has been a big part of my life for the last eight years," said Hanson, who will be moving north to pursue a graduate degree in kinesiology and sport performance at Sacramento State University. "It's been very special to see the women's team grow from a club sport to a varsity program and to see the men's team succeed just as much."
"Steve has done a great job with our men's and women's water polo programs and we will certainly miss him," said Levick. "His dedication to Santa Clara University and the water polo program has been unwavering and our teams certainly showed positive growth throughout his tenure. We wish him well in his new career path."
A 1996 graduate of Santa Clara, Hanson has been on the Broncos' staff for seven years, and has brought experience, knowledge, and dedication to the water polo program. In 1994, Hanson joined SCU as the assistant coach for the men's water polo team, continuing for the '95 and '96 seasons. In spring of 1997, Hanson assisted his brother Marc with the Santa Clara women's club team. He briefly left the Bronco coaching staff in the fall of 1997, to pursue a head coaching opportunity for the men and women's water polo teams at UC Santa Barbara. The following year he led the UCSB women's water polo team to a second-place finish in the Division III National Championship, garnering the Division III Coach of the Year award. Hanson returned to Santa Clara as the head coach of the men and women's water polo programs in 1998.
Hanson has coached many talented players, including All-American recipients Jay Moorhead in 2001 and Kim Yost in 2000. He's also coached 18 athletes to 29 Academic All-American honors, including two-time recipients Matthew Petrich, Moorhead, Kristy Kunisaki, and Shannon Von Lehr.
"I will miss all of the players and staff members I've had the pleasure of working with, but I am taking away with me a lot of fond memories." Hanson said. "I do hope that after I earn a master's degree, I can work in a position that will allow me to teach and return to coaching."
Hanson began his collegiate career at College of the Sequoias (Visalia, Calif.) in 1990, where he was a competitor for two years. At COS, he was the team's leading scorer and named first team All-American two straight years, including the Regional Player of the Year award his freshman season. Not only was Hanson a gifted water polo player, but he was also a talented swimmer, ranking fourth in the state in the 50-yard freestyle competition in 1991. Hanson continued his water polo pursuit at UCSB, when he transferred in 1992. He was a starter for both seasons he competed, ranking third in scoring in 1992 and second in '93. In spring of1994, Hanson transferred to Santa Clara University to complete his bachelor's degree in History, which he did in '96.