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Bailey steps down as girls' water polo coach at Corona del Mar

Coach, who guided CdM to its first CIF Southern Section Division 1 title, is headed to Beckman.

March 27, 2013|By Matt Szabo
(Scott Smeltzer…)

In a move that has stunned much of the Orange County aquatics community, Corona del Mar High girls' water polo coach Sam Bailey resigned Wednesday to take the vacant boys' and girls' water polo head coaching positions at Beckman.

Bailey's resignation comes just more than a month after he guided CdM to its first CIF Southern Section Division 1 title in girls' water polo. Bailey said Wednesday night that he also has accepted a social sciences teaching position at Beckman, which was the main reason for his decision.

CdM Athletic Director Don Grable said Corona del Mar High did not have a teaching position open for Bailey, who did his student-teaching at CdM and has a teaching credential from National University.

"It was, without a doubt, one of the most difficult decisions I've ever had to make in my life," Bailey said. "The commitment that the girls made to each other, and to our program, is second to none. We've accomplished amazing, outstanding things together. I remain confident that the program will continue to thrive and excel.

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"Four years ago, I made a commitment to myself and the people closest to me that I was going to become a teacher. Unfortunately, nothing's opened up [at CdM]. I'm definitely going to miss the relationships ... but I need to think about my future."

Bailey, a UCLA graduate and former assistant with the Bruins, was hired in June of 2010 following the resignation of Aaron Chaney. It was his second stint at CdM, as he was Chaney's assistant coach from 2003-05 and also CdM boys' water polo head coach in 2004.

He had a record of 76-15 in his three seasons as girls' head coach. The Sea Kings made the CIF semifinals in 2011 and the finals in 2012. They were up and down this past season but put it together at the end, overcoming deficits to Los Alamitos in the Division 1 quarterfinals and Foothill in the semifinals. In the title match, they dethroned Back Bay rival Newport Harbor, 6-5.

Under Bailey, CdM has maintained its reputation as one of the top programs in the country. The CdM girls have made at least the playoff semifinals for 14 straight years. He was Division 1 Coach of the Year this season and received the Doc Hunkler Distinguished Women's Coaching Award from USA Water Polo.

Grable said Bailey turned in his resignation letter earlier Wednesday. Grable sent an email to CdM parents Wednesday afternoon, notifying them of the resignation.

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