LOS ANGELES – Denny Harper has been named the 2013 Western Water Polo Association (WWPA) Coach of the Year, as voted on by his peers. The announcement was made Wednesday by the league office.
Harper led the Tritons to a 16th WWPA championship and a 12th appearance at the National Collegiate Water Polo Championship in 2013. UCSD played in the first ever NCAA Championship play-in game, falling to St. Francis 6-5 to narrowly miss the final four-team bracket.
The Tritons finished 4-1 in conference play during the regular season and 14-14 overall. UCSD defeated UC Davis in the conference championship, 6-4, to earn the automatic qualifier to the NCAA Championship.
UCSD placed six student-athletes on the WWPA All-Conference team, five on the conference All-Academic team and four on the Association of Collegiate Water Polo (ACWPC) All-America Division II team. Harper was also named the NCAA Division II Coach of the Year by the ACWPC.
The honor marks the 17th time Harper has been named WWPA Coach of the Year. After completing his 34th season at the helm, Harper has compiled a career record of 585-430-4 (.574).
The Tritons have advanced to the NCAA Championship on 12 different occasions under his guidance, finishing second for the first time ever in 2000, third in 1995, 1998 and 2006, fourth in 1999, 2002 and 2011, sixth in 1989, 1991 and 1992, and eighth in 1993. In 1995, Harper's Tritons became the first Division III team to advance to the NCAA Final Four, repeating the feat in 1998 and at Canyonview in 1999.
Under Harper's direction, UCSD has proved to be a regular contender in the WWPA since the league began sponsoring championships in 1981. In 28 seasons, the Tritons have captured 16 titles and 11 runner-up trophies. UCSD has been consistently ranked among the top-12 teams in the NCAA rankings, including reaching as high as No. 3 in the nation in 2006, after an upset win over UCLA.