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Debating with your friends who’s the best Water Polo coach?

Ratko Rudic, Dejan Udovicic, or Alessandro Campagna?

Here is our list of the best Water Polo coaches of all time.

Do you agree with our picks?

Best Water Polo Coaches:

  1. Ratko Rudic
  2. Dejan Udovicic
  3. Alessandro Campagna
  4. Dragan Matutinovic
  5. Denes Kemeny
  6. Terry Schroeder
  7. Ricardo Azevedo
  8. Petar Porobic
  9. Adam Krikorian
  10. Guy Baker
  11. Monte Nitzkowski

#1 Ratko Rudic

  • πŸ† Achievements: Multiple Olympic gold medals and World Championships
  • πŸ“… Years Active: 1980s–2020
  • πŸ‘• Teams Coached: Yugoslavia, Italy, United States, Croatia, Brazil
  • 🌐 Nationality: Croatian

Ratko Rudic is widely regarded as one of the greatest water polo coaches of all time. His illustrious career spans several decades, during which he has won four Olympic gold medals with three different teams.

Under his guidance, teams have excelled for their tactical discipline and physical preparation, setting new standards in the sport.

Rudic’s methods have been celebrated for not only bringing success in major tournaments but also for advancing the global competitiveness of water polo.

#2 Dejan Udovicic

  • πŸ† Achievements: World Championship and World League titles
  • πŸ“… Years Active: 2000s–Present
  • πŸ‘• Teams Coached: Serbia, United States
  • 🌐 Nationality: Serbian

Dejan Udovicic has carved out a name for himself as a top-tier coach in international water polo. With Serbia, he has secured victories in the World Championships and World Leagues, showcasing his ability to lead teams to success on the highest levels.

His transfer to coach the United States team signified his reputation as a coach who could elevate national programs.

Udovicic’s coaching philosophy emphasizes aggressive defense and rapid transitions, which have made his teams formidable opponents in the pool.

#3 Alessandro Campagna

  • πŸ† Achievements: Olympic gold medal and World Championships as a coach
  • πŸ“… Years Active: 2001–Present
  • πŸ‘• Teams Coached: Italy
  • 🌐 Nationality: Italian

Alessandro Campagna is a prestigious figure in water polo, not only for his playing career but also for his exceptional coaching achievements.

As the head of the Italian national team, Campagna has led the squad to an Olympic gold medal, cementing his legacy as one of the sport’s top strategists.

His coaching style is distinguished by a balanced approach, cultivating both a strong defense and a creative offense that adapts to his players’ strengths.

#4 Dragan Matutinovic

  • πŸ† Achievements: Olympic medals and World Championships
  • πŸ‘• Teams Coached: Spain, China, and other national and club teams
  • 🌐 Nationality: Croatian

Dragan Matutinovic has a distinguished track record in international water polo, having coached various national teams to podium finishes at the Olympics and in World Championships.

Notably, he played a key role in leading the Spanish national team to considerable successes.

His technical knowledge and innovative tactics have been influential in propelling water polo forward as a competitive sport.

#5 Denes Kemeny

  • πŸ† Achievements: Three consecutive Olympic gold medals with Hungary
  • πŸ“… Years Active: 1997–2012
  • πŸ‘• Teams Coached: Hungary
  • 🌐 Nationality: Hungarian

Denes Kemeny is a legendary figure in the world of water polo coaching, having led the Hungarian national team to three back-to-back Olympic gold medals.

Throughout his tenure, Kemeny’s teams were known for their mental toughness and remarkable teamwork, reflecting his leadership and strategic insight.

His profound impact on Hungarian water polo has left a lasting legacy, with his era as coach being considered a golden age for the country in the sport.

#6 Terry Schroeder

  • πŸ† Achievements: Olympic silver medals as a coach
  • πŸ‘• Teams Coached: United States
  • 🌐 Nationality: American

Terry Schroeder is highly respected in the water polo community, both as a former player and as a coach.

Having led the United States national team to silver medals in the Olympics, Schroeder’s coaching career has been marked by his ability to inspire and draw the best out of his athletes.

His contributions to American water polo have been significant, both in international competitions and in the developmental aspects of the game in the United States.

#7 Ricardo Azevedo

  • πŸ‘• Teams Coached: United States (youth teams), Long Beach State, China
  • 🌐 Nationality: Brazilian-American

Ricardo Azevedo holds a distinctive position in water polo coaching, having worked extensively with youth teams in the United States and coached at the collegiate level with Long Beach State.

Additionally, he has served as the head coach for the Chinese national team.

While specific achievements are not listed, Azevedo’s influence extends across the sport, especially in coaching and player development.

#8 Petar Porobic

  • πŸ‘• Teams Coached: Montenegro
  • 🌐 Nationality: Montenegrin

Petar Porobic is known for his contributions to Montenegrin water polo, having been at the helm of their national team.

Though specific dates and achievements may not be available, his role in the growth and competitive presence of Montenegro in international water polo is recognized within the water polo community.

Porobic’s expertise has been instrumental in positioning Montenegro as a formidable opponent in major water polo competitions.

#9 Adam Krikorian

  • πŸ† Achievements: Multiple Olympic gold medals with the USA women’s team
  • πŸ“… Years Active: 2009–Present
  • πŸ‘• Teams Coached: United States women’s team, UCLA men’s and women’s teams
  • 🌐 Nationality: American

Adam Krikorian has established an extraordinary record as a coach, particularly with the United States women’s national team, leading them to numerous Olympic gold medals.

His leadership at UCLA, where he coached both men’s and women’s teams, laid a solid foundation for his successful career in international coaching.

Krikorian’s approach to the game is marked by his focus on psychological resilience and the ability to adapt tactics to his teams’ strengths.

#10 Guy Baker

  • πŸ† Achievements: Olympic silver and bronze medals with the USA women’s team
  • πŸ‘• Teams Coached: United States women’s team
  • 🌐 Nationality: American

Guy Baker has led the United States women’s water polo team to impressive achievements at the Olympics, including silver and bronze medals.

His tenure is highly regarded, and he has played a crucial part in elevating the profile of women’s water polo in the USA and internationally.

Baker’s influence goes beyond accolades, as he has been pivotal in developing the strategic and technical aspects of the game among women athletes.

#11 Monte Nitzkowski

  • πŸ‘• Teams Coached: United States
  • 🌐 Nationality: American

Monte Nitzkowski is a historic figure in American water polo, having coached the United States national team and playing an essential part in their past successes.

Although specifics on his achievements and years of activity are not included, Nitzkowski’s name is synonymous with the development of water polo in the USA.

His legacy includes not only his coaching successes but also his lasting influence on the tactical elements of the sport.


Who is the greatest Water Polo coach of all time?

Ratko Rudić is widely considered the greatest Water Polo coach, having led teams to four Olympic gold medals across three different countries.

Who was the most successful Water Polo coach?

Ratko Rudić is the most successful Water Polo coach, with four Olympic golds and numerous World Championship and World Cup titles with various national teams.

Max is a sports enthusiast who loves all kinds of ball and water sports. He founded & runs stand-up-paddling.org (#1 German Paddleboarding Blog), played competitive Badminton and Mini Golf (competed on national level in Germany), started learning β€˜real’ Golf and dabbled in dozens of other sports & activities.

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