Woodland, Calif.----- When the San José State University men's water polo program resumes intercollegiate competition in 2015 after a 34-year hiatus, the Spartans will play their conference contests in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF). Gene Bleymaier, the Spartans director of athletics, and MPSF commissioner Al Beaird made the announcement.
"We thank commissioner Al Beaird of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation and accept the invitation to join the conference in men's water polo," says San José State director of athletics Gene Bleymaier.
"The MPSF is recognized as the top water polo conference in the country and we look forward to this high level of conference play starting in 2015 with Coach Watson and the players he is recruiting to San Jose State."
The Spartans will join current MPSF men's water polo members California, UC Irvine, UC Santa Barbara, Long Beach State, Pacific, Pepperdine, Stanford, USC and 2014 NCAA champion UCLA. Since 1992, a current MPSF member won each year's NCAA Championship.
"We are very excited to be presented with this challenge. The MPSF is the top conference in the U.S. It is very exciting for a new program like ours to face this great challenge. It will be a tremendous boost for our program's profile and we look forward to being a part of the Mountain Pacific," says Bruce Watson, a San Jose State grad, the Spartans new head coach and a former U.S. National men's team player.
"We're looking to bring the team back to the prominence it once had and what better way to do it than in the best conference there is."
The Spartans last fielded an NCAA Division I men's water polo program in 1981. San Jose State was a consistently successful program starting in the post-World War II era. Spartan alums Peter Ueberroth, former President of the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee, and USA Water Polo Olympians Steve Hamann and team manager Dennis Fosdick and coach Art Lambert; and one-time USA national team member Greg Hind are some of the Spartans' most prominent alumni in the sport.
San José State won the 1971, 1972 and 1973 Pacific Coast Athletic Association (PCAA) tournaments and went on to more success at the NCAA Championships. The Spartans finished fourth in 1970, second in 1971, third in 1972 and fifth in 1975 at the NCAA Championships.
In 2015-16, men's water polo will be one of three San Jose State sports competing in the MPSF. Women's gymnastics and women's water polo presently compete in the MPSF.