Women’s water polo already has eight to 12 of its 16 to 20
players on the swimming team, no facilities need changing and a
quality coach for the squad already works in the CSU athletic
These were just some reasons the long-awaited decision of the
athletic department on adding a new varsity sport went to water
polo, according to a release.
“It’s a good fit,” said CSU Director of Athletics Mark Driscoll.
“We have a chance to be competitive nationally fairy early.”
There are 29 teams that compete in Division I women’s water
polo. CSU will have a team in place by Aug. 1 and the first season
will start in March 2005. There are two divisions in Division I,
one primarily with teams from the East, the other with West Coast
teams. CSU will compete in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation,
comprised of 10 California schools, Arizona State and Hawaii.
The NCAA mandated that all schools with Division I-A football
teams have 16 varsity sports by Aug. 1, 2004 if they wish to
continue competing as Division I-A in football.
CSU swimming and diving coach John Mattos was immediately named
as the water polo coach. Driscoll said Mattos proposed that CSU add
men’s swimming and women’s water polo last year and his abilities
were the primary reason the department decided on water polo over
“He’s a very successful coach,” Driscoll said of Mattos, who
will also be an assistant coach for the U.S. World Championships in
“It will be parallel with what we’re doing now,” Mattos said of
coaching water polo. “We’re excited to have the opportunity to do
Women’s water polo got the varsity spot over women’s soccer and
men’s baseball, among others. Baseball and soccer are both
sponsored in the Mountain West Conference and many saw women’s
soccer as the favorite.
“We were very shocked to hear that women’s water polo was
chosen,” said Sara Colorosa, a club sports coordinator. “I’ve been
working in club sports for a few years now and I always expected it
to be women’s soccer. Although it is a great change and a new
avenue for the sport as well, we are all just pretty shocked.
Ultimately flabbergasted and shocked.”
Driscoll said water polo was selected over other sports that may
be better known because water polo best fit the athletic
department’s criteria for selecting a sport. The criteria were: to
comply with the NCAA requirements, keep the gender equity numbers
in line with Title IX requirements, have as little effect on
athletic finances as possible and have as little effect on the
other varsity sports facilities as possible.
“It wasn’t in any strategic plan of ours to add a (varsity)
sport,” Driscoll said. “Had the NCAA not legislated that we needed
to add another sport, nobody would have given it a second
Anna Morrison, president of the CSU equestrian team, another
favorite for the new sport, said that while she is disappointed
equestrian was not chosen, she is happy for the water polo
“I’m not in a position to judge their decision,” Morrison said.
“I am a little surprised though.”
Mattos said he thinks that once people see the product they will
come and support the team, though the sport is not widely known.
Also, as former CSU swimmer Amy Van Dyken brought CSU notoriety
when she won four gold medals in the Olympics, a great women’s
water polo player could give CSU coverage.
The team could host individual matches at the Moby Arena pool,
but tournaments would be played at Edora Pool and Ice Center. Each
team in Division I must play a minimum of 10 matches.
“We really hope and look forward to hosting a tourney,” Driscoll
said. “We believe it’s a sport that people will watch.”