sure I like you playing this sport.' But I said, 'Well, it's too late
now."' said Kruse, who would become a key member of the U.S. national
team, following an NCAA All-American career at UC Irvine.
From 1972 through the mid-80s, Kruse competed for the high-profile
Newport Harbor Water Polo Foundation, a summer club program under UCI
Coach Ted Newland. The foundation squad would play against the best open
competition in the country and vie each year for Amateur Athletic Union
Kruse, a former Newport Beach resident who became a hugely successful
commercial real estate broker in the 1980s, was an All-CIF Southern
Section choice at Fullerton High (Class of '70), then starred at
Fullerton College and UCI for two years each.
Kruse, who was 14 when he started playing, was an All-American at UCI
in 1972 and '73 under Newland. In 1986, Kruse was inducted into the UCI
Athletic Hall of Fame.
A two-meter standout in high school and community college, Kruse was
switched to driver at UCI, which lost to UCLA in the NCAA championship
game both years he was an Anteater.
Even though Kruse played on the U.S. national team from 1973 through
'78, he never played in the Olympics, because Team USA failed to qualify
for the 1976 Montreal Games.
After retiring from water polo in 1978 to enter the commercial real
estate business, Kruse wondered if he would regret the move, despite the
fact that he had become the top producer at Cushman and Wakefield and was
well on his way to living the type of lifestyle he was seeking.
Then Kruse heard about President Jimmy Carter's boycott of the 1980
Moscow Games, and, suddenly, "wow ... I felt maybe I was justified in
making the decision (to retire)."
Kruse, however, has remained in water polo as a television commentator
for NBC Sports during its Olympic coverage. While Kruse might have come
up short in his athletic quest to reach the coveted Summer Games, he has
more than made up for it behind the mike, having covered the last five
Olympic Games (from Los Angeles in 1984 to Sydney in 2000).
Though Kruse often thinks about the Olympic playing opportunity which