Fourth-year UC Davis head coach Daniel Leyson was selected as the 2016 Western Water Polo Association Men's Coach of the Year by a vote of his conference peers, the league office announced Friday. This is the first such award for the Aggie mentor, who guided his team to a school-record 23 wins, a WWPA team championship and the program's first NCAA postseason berth in 19 years.
This is just the fourth time in the 36-year history of the WWPA that the Coach of the Year nod has gone to UC Davis. Tom Elson captured the award in 1996, then Steve Doten won it in 2007 and 2010.
The Aggies went a perfect 6-0 in conference play to earn the top seed in the championship tournament. They posted a WWPA semifinal win over Cal Baptist before taking down three-time defending champion UC San Diego in the conference final. UC Davis then competed in the National Collegiate Championship play-in game, where it fell in a 16-15 overtime heartbreaker against Harvard.
The team's final winning percentage of .793 (23-6), average of 12.6 goals per game, and No. 10 final national ranking also established school benchmarks. Impressively, the Aggies achieved this historic season with only one senior: team captain Tennyson May. Of the 10 players with double-figure scoring in 2016, seven are of either freshman or sophomore athletic eligibility.
The Coach of the Year award concludes a string of major conference honors bestowed upon Aggies in 2016. Sophomore attacker Ido Goldschmidt captured WWPA Player of the Year honors while junior goalkeeper Spencer Creed was named WWPA Tournament MVP.