BRIDGEPORT, Pa. — Former USA Water Polo Executive Director Bruce Wigo will join the pantheon of the sport in the United States as a member of the 36th USA Water Polo Hall of Fame class. The five-member class boasts three Olympians, a veteran referee, and an influential water polo executive. Two-time Olympic medalists and 2012 Olympic champions Kelly Rulon and Elsie Windes join two-time Olympian and coach Gavin Arroyo. Also being honored are veteran referee and Olympic Games administrator Gary Robinett along with Wigo.
More information on the Hall of Fame Induction Luncheon will be shared when available. For more information on the Hall of Fame, including a look at all the past inductees, CLICK HERE.
One of the most influential forces in the sport of water polo over the last 50 years, Wigo’s impact on the game stretches back to his earliest days learning the sport in the late 1960s at the Philadelphia Athletic Club under Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) Hall of Fame and USA Water Polo Hall of Fame member Paul Barren, Wigo competed in Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) water polo before swimming took priority in his college years for four years at the University of North Carolina.
Wigo circled back to the sport in the 1970s, first as a coach for the U.S. Virgin Islands and then with the New York Athletic Club’s Saturday morning youth program, where his son Wolf was introduced to the sport. He served as Zone 1 chairman and was a collegiate referee before taking on the role of interim executive director of USA Water Polo in 1991, an assignment that would last more than 12 years. In that time, working with a dedicated corps of volunteers, Wigo delivered on multiple fronts. He played a key part in securing a new training facility in Los Alamitos, boosting membership and installing coaching staffs for the Men’s and Women’s National Teams that set the stage success for years to come.
Back on the domestic scene Wigo helped track down new sponsors for the organization, increased youth participation in conjunction with the YMCA, opened the Junior Olympics to all comers, and developed a variety of much-needed coaching materials. Wigo assisted in the production of videos and other promotional materials in an effort to bring women’s water polo to the Olympic Games, a feat achieved at the 2000 Games in Sydney while also placing a premium on the health of men’s college water polo and growth of the women’s game.
He hasn’t strayed far from the sport or the aquatics world, serving as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) for a dozen years until December 31, 2017. Wigo is credited with bringing the organization back to financial stability by helping to raise millions of dollars through gifts, grants, donations and the development of ISHOF branded products. He also collaborated with the City of Santa Clara, Calif., on plans to develop a new multimillion-dollar aquatics center and museum.
More recently, he has continued to give back to the sports of water polo and swimming by working as a consultant to various aquatic-related organizations and museums.