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BRIDGEPORT, Pa. — A Celebration of Life will take place on Saturday, July 10, at the Old Hickory Golf Club in Saint Peters, Mo., for former Lindenwood University and McKendree University head coach and Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) official Gregg Emde who passed away on February 3.

An 8th grade virtual science teacher at Robert Smalls International Academy in South Carolina, Emde was killed in a single vehicle motorcycle accident on February 3, in Jasper County, South Carolina.

Visitation will occur from 9:00-11:00 a.m. at the Old Hickory Golf Club (1 Dye Club Drive, Saint Peters, Mo. 63304) prior to a water polo game occurring at Marquette High School (2351 Clarkson Road, Chesterfield, Mo.  63017) from 2:00-5:00 p.m.

“I had the pleasure of working with him for many years, beginning with his time at Lindenwood where he won a National Championship, followed by his tenure at McKendree as he led a brand new varsity program, and finally during his most recent years as an official, always willing to take on any assignment offered. He touched many lives during his time with our conference and we will miss him,” stated CWPA/Mid-Atlantic Water Polo Conference (MAWPC)/Northeast Water Polo Conference (NWPC) Commissioner Dan Sharadin at the time of Emde’s passing.

The head coach of the 2014 Men’s National Collegiate Club Champion Lindenwood University Lions, Emde possessed more than 20 years of playing and coaching experience in the sport of water polo.

During his lone academic year at Lindenwood, Emde led the Lions’ programs to a combined 39 victories in 2014-15. His men’s squad dominated the competition at both ends of the pool as Lindenwood outscored its opponents by a margin of 421-134. After guiding the Lions through an unblemished regular-season schedule, Emde helped Lindenwood to three victories in the Missouri Valley Division championship and followed that with four wins at the National Collegiate Club Championship held in Kearnes, Utah. For his efforts, Emde was named as the Missouri Valley Division Coach of the Year.

Emde also led the Lindenwood women’s team to a strong start in 2015 as the squad reeled off wins in 11 of its first 12 contests. The Lions closed the year with a 15-4 overall record, while going 6-1 in league competition.

Following his single season in Saint Charles, Mo., Emde accepted the head coaching position at McKendree University as the Bearcats announced the launch of varsity men’s and women’s water polo at the institution.

Emde oversaw the launch of the McKendree programs during the 2015 and 2016 men’s seasons along with the 2016 women’s campaign prior to resigning during the 2017 season. 

During his lone season of action on the bench of the Bearcats’ men’s team in 2016 following a season of recruiting, he guided the squad to a 12-15 record against both collegiate club and varsity competition.  McKendree finished 7-1 during the Missouri Valley Division collegiate club regular season to clinch the No. 1 seed for the championship.  The Bearcats, who placed second in the Missouri Valley Division behind the eventual National Collegiate Club Champion Lindenwood, earned a spot in the 2016 Men’s National Collegiate Club Championship field and finished in Eighth Place in the event hosted by the University of Notre Dame.

Coaching success was not limited to exclusively the collegiate ranks for Emde. He served as the head coach for the varsity water polo team at Marquette High School in St. Louis for 10 years and led the team to six conference finals and a pair of Missouri state final four appearances in 2002 and 2008. He also took the reins of the boy’s and girl’s swimming teams at Marquette from 2008-11.

In 2000, Emde founded Mad Dog Water Polo, a developmental club for players ranging in age from 8-18. Thanks in part to his leadership, the club became one of the top programs throughout St. Louis and the Midwest region.

At the national level, Emde served as a head coach for the Olympic Development Program starting in 2006, and earned the Ted Newland National Developmental Coach of the Year award from USA Water Polo in 2013. He also earned Level III coaching status and is a member of the Missouri Water Polo Board of Directors.

After leaving McKendree, Emde joined the CWPA officiating ranks working collegiate club and varsity games.

A native of St. Louis, Emde was a four-year varsity performer at Parkway West High School. He helped lead his team to a state championship as a senior and earned All-State honors for his efforts. In addition, Emde was a part of the Daisy Water Polo Club from 1983-85, and collected a Junior Olympic bronze medal in 1984. He went on to handle duties as a captain and head coach of the water polo programs at both Denison University and Ohio University. Emde earned his bachelor’s degree from Ohio in 1990.


Collegiate Water Polo Association