John Abdou Named Head Men's & Women's Water Polo Coach at Bucknell

John Abdou
John Abdou

LEWISBURG, Pa. -- John Abdou, who served in the role of interim head coach for the last five months, has been named the head men's and women's water polo coach at Bucknell, director of athletics and recreation John Hardt announced Tuesday. Abdou, a 2001 graduate of the University of California at Irvine, is a three-year member of the Bison men's and women's water polo coaching staff, serving as an assistant coach, associate head coach and interim head coach over that span.

Abdou, the 2008 Collegiate Water Polo Association Southern Division Coach of the Year, performed admirably in his stint as interim head coach of the women's program this past spring when he led the squad to a program-record 26 victories and a sixth-place showing at the Eastern Championship. Bucknell was nationally ranked for six weeks during the season, climbing as high as No. 19 in the polls, the best ranking in the decade-long existence of the program.

Since arriving at Bucknell in the summer of 2005, Abdou has helped the Bison women's team post a pair of 20-win campaigns and accumulate an overall record of 64-36.

On the men's side, Abdou helped guide the Bison to a 20-13 record in 2007, its first 20-win campaign since 2001. Bucknell finished the season ranked 19th nationally, marking the second time in Abdou's three years on the sidelines that it was ranked at the conclusion of a season. Additionally, the men's program has finished in the top five at the Eastern Championships all three years Abdou has been associated with the program.

"After conducting an extensive nationwide search, it became clear that the best candidate to lead the Bison men's and women's water polo teams into the future was right here on our staff all along," said Hardt. "John Abdou has all of the qualities we were looking for in a head coach. He did a commendable job as interim head women's coach this spring, and he has recruited many outstanding student-athletes to Bucknell during his three years on the staff. With an excellent, well-connected coach on board coupled with a superior aquatics facility in Kinney Natatorium, all backed by a nationally renowned academic program, there is no better time to be associated with Bucknell water polo."

"I am excited to have this opportunity to continue to serve as head coach of the men's and women's polo programs at Bucknell," said Abdou. "It is an honor to follow in the footsteps of other great Bison water polo coaches. Even further, I am grateful for the enthusiasm and support shown to me by the Bucknell water polo community and administration over the last three years and throughout the hiring process. I hope the excitement surrounding both programs continues to grow and flourish in the upcoming years."

A native of California, Abdou is a highly regarded recruiter, particularly in the hotbed of water polo on the West Coast. As an assistant coach, he served as the primary West Coast recruiter for both the men's and women's programs and has brought a wealth of talent to Lewisburg. Over the last three years, Abdou has helped the Bison men's team ink nine players from his home state, including four in the latest recruiting class. Seven freshmen and sophomores from California dotted the 2008 women's roster, while four more Californians are part of the women's Class of 2012.

Prior to his stint at Bucknell, Abdou served as the director and head coach of both the men's and women's water polo programs at Burbank High School in Burbank, Calif., from 2001-2005. The area's Girls Water Polo Coach of the Year winner in 2004 and 2005, Abdou took a pair of teams with losing records and transformed them into perennial winners, participating in the league playoffs each of the last three years.

Along with handling the coaching duties at Burbank, Abdou was a social science teacher. He was voted one of Los Angeles' Most Inspirational Teachers in 2005 and was chosen to pioneer the school's first advanced placement course in psychology. He also handled duties as the advisor for the senior class in 2005.

Recently, Abdou organized and conducted district tryouts for United States Water Polo as the Wilshire District boys cadet coach. He also worked with United States Water Polo as the C.C. Zone girls' youth assistant coach. Since 2002, Abdou has been part of the coaching staff at the Naval Academy Water Polo Camp.

Abdou got his start in coaching when he was the head assistant boys' water polo coach as his alma mater, Temple City High School in Temple City, Calif., in 1998. As a player at Temple City, Abdou earned all-league and team MVP honors while serving as team captain.

Abdou, who serves the U.S. Water Polo Northeast zone as a coach in several capacities, played for the U.S. Junior National Team during his freshman year at UC Irvine.

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