A program in transition


Parental unity appears key as Newport Harbor prepares to name new boys' aquatics coach.

May 07, 2011|By Matt Szabo,
(Daily Pilot File…)

The old saying goes that April showers bring May flowers.

The Newport Harbor High aquatics community would love to see it play out that way.

This month the Sailors expect to name their new boys' water polo and swimming coach, following the firing of Jason Lynch on April 8. Girls' golf coach Scott Tarnow, who is on the hiring board, said no interviews have been conducted as of Thursday, but the position is expected to be filled in the next two to three weeks. That's consistent with an email Principal Michael Vossen sent out to Newport aquatics families April 21, saying the goal was to name a new coach by mid-May.

While the new coach's identity is still up in the air, the new aquatic boosters president next year is expected to be Doug Stevens, the father of sophomore center Dan Stevens.

Doug Stevens, currently the aquatics boosters parliamentarian, said he was the only one who volunteered to fill the president position. He hopes he doesn't have his work cut out for him.


Lynch has remained as club coach for the time being, and that initially created tension on the pool deck. Newport water polo players typically play club under the Newport Water Polo Foundation, which is not officially affiliated with the high school. But Stevens said three players – junior Hank Lee and sophomores Preston Lee and Andrew Silvers – stopped playing for the Newport club team over the school's spring break. They went to practice with another top club team, SoCal, Stevens said.

The Lee brothers' father, Rich, declined to comment on the situation. Stevens said he thinks the players will return to play for Newport when a new high school coach is named, the presumption being that the new high school coach will also take over the club program.

That's the way Bill Barnett understands it as well.

"Whenever they hire the new coach, he'll take over the older age-group program," Barnett said. "Jason will work with the younger age group boys and have some administrative responsibilities."

Barnett said he's disappointed with the decision to fire Lynch, but not in a position to comment on the circumstances. He is, however, a great person to comment on the state of the program. After all, the man has been coaching at Newport Harbor for 45 years, longer than his players – or some of their parents – have been alive.

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