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Published January 11th, 2016
Guy Baker Named Executive Director of Lamorinda Water Polo Club
Guy Baker Photo provided

Already boasting some of the best and most successful Bay Area coaches in its program, Lamorinda Water Polo Club named legendary coach Guy Baker to its newly created position of executive director.
In addition to numerous other achievements, Baker is the only Women's National Team coach to ever win three consecutive Olympic medals. He is also a two-time world champion and won the NCAA Collegiate Championship seven times. After the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, he launched the Olympic Development Program for USA Water Polo, overseeing the Men and Women's National Teams. In 2012, he took a job as head of the women's program in Canada.
When asked what could motivate such an eminent international figure to accept a position with a youth program in the heart of the Bay Area, Baker responded, "Coaching is coaching, no matter what the level. The sooner they learn the skills they require, the better." He also admitted that when he retired from coaching, he wasn't fully satisfied with the role of consultant: "I was better at coaching teams when I was actively involved."
Having moved to Walnut Creek, Baker began his new role in November. He will oversee management operations and culture of the club with an emphasis on fund raising, installing good athlete and coach development programs, and building up organizational support for both the girls and boys programs. In addition, he will work with the 12-and-under girls as their coach.
Baker credits his high school coach John Lowell with introducing him to the sport before his freshman year in Indio, a small desert community near Palm Springs. "Since I wasn't a very fast swimmer, he told me they needed a goalie and thought I'd be a good fit. But when several seniors got kicked off the team, I moved to varsity, and out of the goal."
Lowell, in mentoring the young Baker, became almost as important an influence as his parents. "Coach Lowell broadened our horizons, taking us to Orange County and Los Angeles to play bigger schools, and then we went to New Zealand and Australia before my junior year. I was totally hooked on water polo and began to think like a coach."
That thinking paid off. After graduating from CSU Long Beach, where he was a star player, he became an assistant coach there until moving to UCLA in 1991 where he coached both the men and women's teams to national championships. He was inducted into the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame in 2014.
One of his favorite memories is when legendary UC Berkeley water polo coach Pete Cutino gave him a call to congratulate him on UCLA making the NCAA championships. Later, Baker says that when his teams continued to challenge Cal's dominance, "Cutino told me that 'we don't like this anymore.'"
Baker is excited to work with all the talented coaches in the program, and especially with famed Miramonte coaches Bill Brown (who coached from 1966-2005) and James Lathrop (2006-present). Speaking of Brown, he said, "Even though Bill's been around longer than any of us, he still has more energy than all of us working with the young kids."
Baker noted that the Lamorinda programs have produced over 200 college athletes since they started keeping track in 1999. "This is an unbelievable community with parents and kids who have a great knowledge of aquatics. They demand excellence in their aquatic and water polo programs."
The addition of Baker as executive director of the Lamorinda Water Polo Club will help satisfy that demand.
The LWPC is a year-round USA Water Polo club program with over 200-plus players from both Alameda and Contra Costa counties. The program is open to males and females of all ability levels. Interested persons can find more information on their web site at www.lamorindawaterpolo.org.

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