Sept. 26, 2013
Mike Schofield, who was in his 29th year, voluntarily stepped down today as head water polo coach. Associate head coach Mladen Stanicic has been appointed interim head coach. Schofield, who is in his 32nd year overall at the Naval Academy, will remain as an instructor in the physical education department.
“Twenty-nine years of successful leadership coupled with being the winningest head coach in any sport in the history of the Naval Academy speaks volumes to the impact Mike has made on the lives of our midshipmen,” said Naval Academy Director of Athletics Chet Gladchuk.
“His distinguished career has been the benchmark for all who have coached the game. Water polo at Navy will flourish for years to come because of the rock solid foundation Mike has put in place.
“On behalf of decades of those who have competed for him, and have been highly successful in the pool, but more importantly in the fleet, thank you coach for your leadership, vision, perseverance, work ethic and encouragement. You will be missed.”
“First I want to thank our current group of student-athletes for all they've done for me, and will continue to do for Coach Stanicic,” said Schofield. “They give us everything they have every day, and deserve the same from the head coach and I’m unable to provide that. I hope the team understands how much respect they've earned from me, and I look forward to watching them succeed as the season unfolds. The Naval Academy can be proud of every one of these Midshipmen.
“Second, I give my thanks to each player who has come through our program since 1982, those relationships and shared experiences will be something I treasure forever. Any success the water polo program has enjoyed is due to them.
“Finally, I'm grateful for the opportunity to be the coach here. The Naval Academy is a special place and it has been my honor to spend 31-plus seasons coaching at this great institution. Mr. Gladchuk, Dr. Virgets, the Naval Academy, the Naval Academy Athletic Association and the local community have supported our team as well as any team in the country and for that I will be forever grateful.
“My family has been incredibly blessed by our connection to the people at the Naval Academy and Navy Athletics, and we're very, very grateful.”
Under Schofield’s direction, the Mids won nine Eastern Championships and competed in 13 NCAA Tournaments. Twenty-one Navy athletes earned 31 All-America honors under Schofield and Navy has been represented on the All-America team in each of the last 14 years.
Schofield leaves as the school's all-time winningest coach in any sport, compiling an astonishing 631 victories. In 2011, 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 then 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 under Schofield, compiling a remarkable 150-29 (.838) record against East Coast teams in the last nine years.
A year ago, Schofield guided the Midshipmen to a 23-6 record and a CWPA Southern Division regular-season championship. The Midshipmen bolted out to a 20-2 record in 2012, one of their best starts in school history, and scored 467 goals, an average of 16.1 goals per game.
In 2011, 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 and marked 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.
In 2009, 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. Schofield was named the CWPA Eastern Coach of the Year for a remarkable seventh time in his career.
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.
A season ago, senior Paul Pedrotty, who entered the year with 107 career points, exploded for 137 points, the second-best total in school history. Pedrotty was named Honorable Mention All-American, running Schofield's All-America count to 31 and marking the 14th straight year that a Navy water polo player was named an All-American, beginning with Jason Pace (HM) in 1999.
The Mids also succeed in the classroom. Last year, eight players received Association of Collegiate Water Polo Coaches (ACWPC) All-Academic citations, running the total to 57 since the 2001 season. In addition, 2013 grad Jackson Hummeldorf was named a First-Team CoSIDA Academic All-American for at-large sports the fifth-such honor for a Schofield-coached player, all coming since 2001.
In 2008, Eric Gardiner earned a prestigious NCAA postgraduate scholarship, was named a 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.
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.
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.