Cal announced the hiring of former Olympian and Sonoma State Coach Coralee Simmons to replace Rich Corso as women’s head coach on October 14. Simmons becomes the fifth head coach and third woman chosen to lead the program in the Bears’ varsity history. That record distinguishes Berkeley from the bulk of its competitors. Stanford, USC and UCLA – the “Big Four” of varsity water polo along with Cal – have had no female head coaches since becoming varsity sports in the 90s.
Simmons follows the legendary Maureen O’Toole and Amber Drury-Pinto as the Bears’ other women coaches. Peter Asch and Rich Corso round out the line of coaches at Cal.
Her competitive drive has transferred so incredibly well from being an athlete to being a coach. She has an innately beautiful way of looking at our sport. It’s something that can’t be taught. – USA Olympian Heather Petri
Simmons was named to the Pac-12 All-Century Team earlier in 2016, and led the U.S. Junior National Team to a gold medal at the 2015 FINA World Junior Championships. That team’s coaching staff, which also included Betsey Armstrong and Natalie Benson, comprised the only all-female staff to ever win a FINA championship.
Simmons left the Sonoma Seawolves after nine seasons and two Division II Coach of the Year awards. The Bears will take part in the 2016 Collegiate Cup beginning on Saturday at Stanford University.