Mike Schofield returns for his 28th season at the helm of the Navy water polo program. Under his direction, the Mids have won nine Eastern Championships and competed in 13 NCAA Tournaments. Twenty Navy athletes have earned 30 All-America honors under Schofield, and Navy has been represented on the All-America team in each of the last 13 years.
Schofield enters the 2012 season as the school's all-time winningest coach, compiling an astonishing 600 wins in 27 years in charge of the Navy water polo program. He surpassed baseball's Joe Duff, who had 595 career wins, in a 16-3 win over Salem International in the CWPA Southern Division Tournament. He recorded his 600th career win with a 12-10 victory over Brown in the CWPA Eastern semifinals, propelling the Midshipmen into their seventh straight Eastern title game appearance.
The Mids have dominated the East, compiling a remarkable 127-19 (.870) record against East Coast teams in the last seven years.
Last year, Navy compiled a 24-7 record and won the CWPA Southern Division tournament title for the 13th time in 19 appearances. The Mids owned wins over nationally-ranked opponents Princeton, Bucknell, Cal Baptist and Loyola Marymount, which at the time was ranked 10th in the country marking Navy's first win over a top 10 program since 2007. The Mids reached the CWPA Eastern Finals for a league-record seventh straight year. Kyle Wertz was named to the first-team All-Eastern squad for the third time (one of five Navy players to accomplish that) and Wertz and Conor Handley were named honorable mention All-Americans.
Two years ago, Navy recorded a 25-7 record and won the CWPA Southern Division title with a 7-1 mark. It was the 29th straight year that Navy had won at least 19 games and the Mids reached the CWPA Eastern Finals for the sixth straight year. Two juniors, Stevie Ray and Kyle Wertz, earned All-East honors, while 2011 grad Luke Baldwin was named an All-American for the second straight year. Schofield was named the CWPA Eastern Coach of the Year for a remarkable seventh time in his career.
Navy posted a 22-9 record three years ago, once again winning the CWPA Southern Division Tournament title and owning an 11-match winning streak late in the year, while advancing to the CWPA Eastern title game for the fifth straight year.
The 2008 season was supposed to be a rebuilding year for the Mids. However, all Navy did was win its third straight Eastern title, its fifth title since 2000, while finishing with a 20-11 record. Navy became the first program to win three straight CWPA Eastern titles twice, accomplishing the feat from 1986-88 as well as 2006-08.
The 2007 team compiled a 30-6 record, setting a school record for wins in a season. The Mids won their eighth Eastern title and finished third at the NCAA Championship, also a program best. Navy went 19-1 for the second straight year against Eastern teams and boasted a school-record 19-game winning streak heading into the NCAA Tournament. In the NCAA Tournament, Navy gave top-seeded California all it could handle, before falling 8-5. Navy rallied in the consolation game to defeat Loyola Marymount, 7-6, putting a cap on the best season in school history.
For his efforts, Schofield was named the 2007 Eastern Coach of the Year for the second straight season and sixth time in his career.
Schofield has had a long line of All-American athletes under his guidance.
In 2011, seniors Kyle Wertz and Conor Handley were named honorable mention All-American, running Schofield's All-America count to 30 and marking the 13th straight year that a Navy water polo player was named All-American, beginning with Jason Pace (HM) in 1999.
Sean Foster (2nd) and Nick Hill (HM) followed up Pace's honor in 2000. Hill was named honorable mention twice more in 2001 and 2002. In 2003, Joe Donahue was a third-team selection. Following Donahue, Patrick Rollo and Alex Ratcliffe were third-team selections in 2004 and 2005. Aaron Recko and George Naughton were named to the team in 2006, while Recko and Mulvey were honored in 2007. Mulvey (3rd team) and Kyle Wertz (HM) were honored in 2008, while Brett Rajchel (HM) and Baldwin were recognized in 2009. Baldwin was recognized again in 2010.
The Mids also succeed in the classroom. Last year, six players received CWPA Academic All-America citations, running the total to 49 since the 2001 season and the squad was honored for its team GPA of 2.83, one of a handful of schools to be recognized.
In 2007, Eric Gardiner earned a prestigious NCAA postgraduate scholarship, was named first-team CoSIDA All-American (at-large team) and was a Marshall Scholarship recipient.
Schofield is well recognized in the water polo community, having also coached on the international level, guiding the U.S. Water Polo Team at the 1997 World University Games to a fifth-place finish. He also served as an assistant for the 1992 National Team and as an assistant for the U.S. Water Polo Team that won gold medals at the World University Games in both 1991 and 1993.
The Midshipmen compete in the Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA), which consists of 19 schools divided into northern and southern divisions. The southern division has been dominated by Navy, as it has won 13-of-19 divisional titles since 1993. Navy owns a 58-6 (.906) record in the CWPA Southern Tournament.
Schofield also directs the Naval Academy Aquatic Club, which produces some of the top young water polo players and swimmers in the country, many of whom have continued their careers at the Naval Academy.
Schofield graduated from Pittsburgh in 1979, where he was the captain of the water polo team and received most valuable player recognition. In 1982, Schofield arrived in Annapolis and assisted in resurrecting a water polo program that had been dormant for 32 years. He took over the head coaching duties in 1985, and his teams have enjoyed 23 20-plus win seasons, playing to an overall record of 578-223. Schofield has been named Eastern Coach of the Year seven times (1986, 1990, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2010). In 2004, Schofield added National Coach of the Year to his resume, and in March of 2004, Schofield was inducted into the United States Water Polo Hall of Fame.
Mike, his wife, Gina, and their sons, Kevin (18) and Matthew (14), reside in Arnold, Md. Kevin is a freshman on the water polo team at Whittier College in California.