June 3, 2009
Wright and Brooks replace Adam Krikorian, who became head coach of the U.S. Women's National Team this summer. Krikorian will remain on the men's water polo staff as Associate Head Coach. He has led UCLA's water polo programs to 11 national championships as head coach since the spring of 1999.
Both Wright (1997-2000) and Brooks (1999-2002) starred for the UCLA's men's water polo program, leading the Bruins to back-to-back NCAA championships in 1999 and 2000, before excelling in the international water polo ranks and participating in the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games for the U.S. National Team.
"I would like to thank the UCLA administration for having the trust in me to lead our men's water polo program," Wright said. "It is an honor to continue the great tradition established at UCLA, and we have a lot of work to do. I am excited to have the chance to work with Adam Krikorian, and we look forward to getting started this summer."
"I'm deeply honored and incredibly excited to take the reins of the UCLA women's water polo program," Brooks said. "I've always been proud to be a Bruin and look forward to continuing UCLA's success. We return a terrific group of veterans and are thrilled about our incoming class of freshmen. It is with great humility that I'm able to take this team forward."
"We are very proud to announce the hiring of two great Bruins, Adam Wright and Brandon Brooks, as the head coaches of our men's and women's water polo programs, respectively," Guerrero said. "Both own tremendous pedigrees as world-class athletes and have followed their playing careers by providing exemplary coaching support to Adam Krikorian in his leadership of UCLA's elite collegiate water polo programs. Both love the game and are extremely hard working. They are tough, but very personable and there is no doubt that our student-athletes, both current and future, are going to enjoy playing for them. They are excellent leaders and will work tirelessly to keep both programs among the nation's best."
Wright and Brooks helped lead the 2009 UCLA women's water polo team to an unprecedented fifth consecutive NCAA championship as assistant coaches. As student-athletes at UCLA, both players were four-time All-America selections before enjoying successful careers competing for the U.S. National Team. They led Team USA to the silver medal at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and to a seventh-place finish at the 2004 Olympics in Athens.
Wright has served as an assistant coach at UCLA since the fall of 2008. Last winter, he played a key role in securing the top men's recruiting class in the nation. He has also served as an assistant coach with the varsity boys and girls water polo programs at Wilson High School (Long Beach, Calif.) from 2001-04. He helped coach the boys program to four consecutive CIF Division I championships and Moore League titles. Wright coached the girls team to two Moore League titles and two CIF Division I quarterfinal playoff appearances.
As a senior at UCLA in 2000, Wright scored 39 goals before earning honorable mention All-America acclaim and second-team All-MPSF honors. In 1999, he secured third-team All-America and second-team All-MPSF honors after having led the Bruins in assists (27) and ranked second on the team in total points (48) and steals (39). In his first two seasons, he scored 43 goals - 26 as a freshman and 27 as a sophomore. Wright graduated from UCLA in 2001 with degrees in history and sociology.
Following his collegiate career, Wright competed in the European League (Italy and Russia) for Bissolati Cremona, Civitavecchia SNC, Nuoto Catania and Dynamo Moscow from 2004-08. He competed for the U.S. National Team in all major tournaments from 2001-08, helping lead Team USA to the gold medal at the 2003 and 2007 Pan American Games.
Brooks has served as an assistant coach with the UCLA men's and women's teams the past three seasons, in addition to working as an undergraduate assistant coach with the men's program in 2004. He helped lead the women's program to NCAA championships each of the last three seasons and assisted the men's program to the 2004 NCAA title. Brooks played a major role in helping land one of the top women's recruiting classes in the nation for 2010.
Brooks was head coach of the Los Angeles Water Polo Club's boys 16-and-under team from 2006-08. In 2006, he coached the club team to an undefeated season, culminating in the Junior Olympic Championship. He helped develop 15 Division I men's water polo student-athletes in his tenure as head coach. Additionally, Brooks will serve on the coaching staff of the U.S. Women's National Team this summer, alongside Krikorian.
One of the nation's premier goalkeepers in four seasons at UCLA, Brooks helped lead the Bruins to back-to-back NCAA titles (1999, 2000) in his first two years. He finished his collegiate career as the program's all-time saves leader with 700 stops. He continued his stellar play in his final two seasons, earning All-America and All-MPSF honors each year. Brooks graduated from UCLA in 2005 with a degree in sociology.
A key goalkeeper on the U.S. National Team, Brooks led Team USA to the gold medal at the 2001 and 2003 Pan American Games. He served as the starting goalkeeper at the 2003 FINA World Championships (Barcelona), the 2004 Olympics (Athens) and the 2005 FINA World Championships (Montreal).