Benjamin Hannani, spotlight editor
The boys’ water polo team is getting an assist this year from Class of 2008 alumnus Michael Lee. A former Norman water polo player himself, he has returned to Beverly as an assistant for varsity team and the head coach of the frosh-soph team. Highlights recently caught up with Lee, who graduated from Claremont McKenna College last year with a double major in Psychology and Spanish, to discuss his role with the team.
Q: What was your favorite part of playing water polo when you went to Beverly?
My favorite part of playing water polo at Beverly was building a winning culture with great teammates. My teammates and I brought Beverly water polo to a place it had not been in a long time. I also loved playing home games in front of a packed swim gym.
Q: How did you get involved with coaching?
I needed a summer job a couple summers ago and Rob Bowie needed an assistant for his summer program and hired me on. From then on I coached with him a couple more summers after that including last summer.
Q: What’s your favorite part about coaching?
Seeing improvements in the kids I coach. There is no better feeling than seeing your kids really take to heart what you are teaching them and get better as water polo players.
Q: How are things different now that you’re approaching the game as a coach instead of as a player?
As a coach I have figure out strategies to beat opposing teams while as a player all I would have to do is follow strategies that my coach gave me. Also, being a coach is much more about teaching and motivating than is being a player. It is much easier to see everything that is going on in the pool when you are on the pool deck coaching than when you are in the water. Furthermore as a coach I have to see how the referees are calling games, something I did not really have to do as a player. Finally, a lot of coaching is managing people and their personalities. As a coach you have to make sure everyone is on one page but this has not been hard with the frosh-soph team because they are all selfless individuals.
Q: Has there been anything that’s surprised you as a coach (i.e. players can be annoying, etc.)?
I’m impressed with how much better the frosh-soph team has gotten. They have surprised me by how much they have listened and dramatically improved. I also did not realize how hard it could be to get certain points through to the kids at times. Sometimes it takes me telling kids something ten times before they listen. I was not ready for this but adjusted to it by relaying certain important points many times.
Q: What career are you working toward? How are you working toward it?
I still would like to work as either a sports agent or for the front office of a NBA team. I am working towards this goal by building up my resume and also pursing law school next year. I am currently in the application process for law school. Law school will help me gain an edge in working in the entertainment industry.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
It has been a wonderful experience coaching the frosh-soph water polo team. I feel like I have learned just as much as the kids have. It has been cool to see water polo from the other side and it is definitely something I really enjoy.