There may not be another head coach in any sport throughout the country who has accomplished more than Adam Krikorian in such a short span. In his 17 years with UCLA's water polo program as both a player and a coach, Krikorian has won an unprecedented 15 national titles - 11 as a head coach, three as an assistant coach and one as a student-athlete.
In the spring of 2009, Krikorian capped his tenure as UCLA's head women's water polo coach by leading the Bruins to their fifth consecutive NCAA championship. He has served as UCLA's head coach the last 11 seasons, 10 years alone at the helm. In 1999, he served as interim head coach while Guy Baker coached the U.S. Women's National Team.
Krikorian will assume head coaching responsibilities of the U.S. Women's Water Polo National Team in the summer of 2009, and will remain on the UCLA men's water polo coaching staff.
As women's water polo head coach, Krikorian guided UCLA to eight national championships (seven NCAA titles) and collected a remarkable .867 winning percentage (288-44 record). Krikorian's women's water polo finished with a perfect 12-0 MPSF record twice (2005, 2008)
A former standout on the men's water polo team from 1992-95, Krikorian earned National Women's Water Polo Coach of the Year honors five times -2001, 2005-08. Krikorian received National Men's Coach of the Year honors in 2004 after having led the UCLA men's program to its eighth NCAA championship. Four of Krikoiran's student-athletes have earned ACWPC Player of the Year honors five times - Elaine Zivich (2000), Natalie Golda (2005), Kelly Rulon (2006, 2007) and Courtney Mathewson (2008).
Over the past five seasons, the UCLA women's water polo program has totaled a 148-12 mark and has won 51 of 55 conference matches. Krikorian earned ACWPC Coach of the Year accolades from 2005 through 2008.
In 2009, Krikorian helped UCLA secure an unprecedented fifth NCAA championship. The Bruins entered the NCAA Tournament with a 22-6 record, having finished third in the MPSF Tournament. After going 0-3 against Stanford in three previous meetings that season, UCLA used a last-second buzzer-beating goal from Megan Burmeister to earn a trip to its fifth straight NCAA championship match. Facing top-seeded USC, Krikorian's squad played its best defense of the season en route to a thrilling 5-4 victory. Senior Tanya Gandy capped a stellar season by setting the school's single-season goals record with 79.
In 2008, Krikorian coached UCLA to its fourth consecutive NCAA championship and its second undefeated season in four years. The Bruins duplicated their 33-0 overall record from 2005 and compiled a perfect 12-0 mark in MPSF competition. Six Bruins earned ACWPC All-America honors, and senior Courtney Mathewson captured the coveted Peter J. Cutino Award, an honor bestowed upon the top women's and men's water polo athlete in the nation. Goalkeeper Brittany Fullen established the program's single-season saves record, making 237 stops in all 33 contests.
In 2007, Krikorian led the women's team to its third consecutive NCAA title, allowing UCLA to become the first university to win 100 NCAA team championships. The Bruins posted a 28-2 record, earning the MPSF Tournament title before winning the NCAA championship. Krikorian coached a talented team, led by Kelly Rulon, who broke UCLA's all-time scoring record (237 goals) before winning the Peter J. Cutino Award.
The 2007 campaign marked the end of two illustrious careers under Krikorian's tutelage. Rulon and Emily Feher both concluded their careers at UCLA as four-time All-America selections, earning first-team All-America honors in 2005, 2006 and 2007. Both standout student-athletes were named third-team selections as freshmen - Rulon in 2003 and Feher in 2004. Feher became the only goalkeeper in Bruin history to have competed on three national championship teams.
Krikorian led the women's team to back-to-back championships in the spring of 2006, as UCLA registered a 29-4 overall record and an 11-1 MPSF mark. Marked by stellar defense, the 2006 Bruins held its opposition to 4.1 goals per game, the lowest average in the nation. Among the most memorable moments in UCLA water polo history, the Bruins defeated top-seeded USC in the NCAA Championship with a last-second goal by then-sophomore Courtney Mathewson.
The start of UCLA's "five-peat" began in 2005, the last school year in which Krikorian led both the women's and men's water polo teams to NCAA titles. That spring, the Bruins enjoyed a season considered by many to be the greatest in the history of collegiate water polo. Led by Cutino Award winner Natalie Golda, UCLA rolled to a 33-0 overall record - the second undefeated season in NCAA water polo history. Coaching a team that featured three Olympians (Golda, Kelly Rulon and Thalia Munro), Krikorian helped lead the Bruins to a 3-2 victory over Stanford in the 2005 NCAA Championship.
Earlier that school year, Krikorian guided the men's team to its best winning percentage since 1972. The 2004 men's squad registered a perfect 8-0 MPSF mark and rattled off an 18-game win streak, which included the NorCal Tournament title and multiple victories over Stanford, California and USC.
In 2003, Krikorian and the women's water polo team made their fourth consecutive appearance at the national championship contest and won the third national title in program history. UCLA finished the season with a 24-4 overall mark, including an 8-2 conference record. With an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, the Bruins cruised past Loyola Marymount in the semifinals before overcoming a 2-0 deficit in the title match to defeat Stanford, 4-3.
In just his third year at the helm, Krikorian guided the Bruins to the inaugural NCAA title in 2001 - UCLA's second consecutive national championship. Krikorian coached standout seniors Coralie Simmons and Kristin Guerin that spring, just months after having led the men's water polo team to its second straight NCAA title. In 2000, Krikorian led the Bruins to the national championship in just his first season as the program's sole head coach. After having coached alongside Guy Baker in 1999, Krikorian made sure the women's program did not skip a beat. The Bruins posted a 30-5 overall record in 2000 after having finished 24-10 in 1999.
Krikorian was promoted to Co-Head Coach prior to the 1999 women's season. The former Bruin standout served as an assistant to the women's team in 1997 and 1998 and to the men's team from 1996 through 1998. During the 1996-97 school year, Krikorian served as a student assistant coach as he completed his undergraduate studies, assisting Baker in leading both squads to national championships.
As a senior captain in 1995, Krikorian helped lead UCLA to its first men's water polo national championship since 1972. Krikorian scored two goals in the Bruins' 10-8 win over California in the NCAA championship game. During his senior season, he registered a team-best 31 goals, including one two-pointer, while earning second-team All-America honors and second-team All-MPSF accolades.
A four-year letterman, Krikorian captained the team in 1994 and 1995, leading the Bruins to the NCAA Tournament in each of those seasons. He finished his Bruin career with 76 goals, including a pair of two-pointers. Krikorian was named "Most Inspirational Player" by his teammates in each of his last three seasons.
A standout prep athlete at Mountain View High School, Krikorian was a four-year letterman in water polo and swimming. As a senior, he scored 113 goals and earned honorable mention All-America accolades. In 1992, he helped lead his team to the National Junior Olympic Championship. Krikorian's older brother, Blake, was on the UCLA water polo team from 1986-89.
Krikorian, 34, graduated from UCLA with a psychology degree and a business administration emphasis in June 1997.
In May 2001, Krikorian married Anicia Mendez, a four-year Bruin letterwinner in tennis who completed her MBA at UCLA. Adam and Anicia reside in Manhattan Beach, Calif., with their son, Jack (born July 2006).
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