Reports widely circulated via social media on Friday were confirmed today when Long Beach State reported, and a close family friend confirmed to TWp, the death of legendary 49er water polo coach Ken Lindgren. It has been well known within the water polo community of Long Beach and beyond that Coach Lindgren had been in poor health for some time.
The family friend wrote in an email to TWp that Lindgren had passed Thursday afternoon or evening.
Coach Lindgren’s career spanned over five decades with his last official position being interim women’s coach at LBSU in 2006. More recently he served as unofficial critic of the game, asked by collegiate water polo coaches and others to assess the state and quality of the game, a “job” he filled with long-time colleague and friend Monte Nitzkowski.
We crossed paths with Lindgren in the early 80s as our teams trained parallel to and sometimes in the same pool with his very good 49er squads of the early part of the decade. And in recent years had he become a highly valuable source of information on water polo in the US and its trajectory in the future. Beyond being generous with his time and extremely helpful with his knowledge, he was simply a pleasure to speak with.
Our sympathies go out to Coach Lindgren’s family.