Dec. 12, 2007
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF. - California senior attacker Michael Sharf, instrumental in the Golden Bears capturing the 2007 NCAA title, is one of three finalists for the 2007-08 Peter J. Cutino Award as the nation's top male collegiate water polo player, it was officially announced by the Olympic Club of San Francisco. The other two nominees for the Cutino Award are senior goalie Adam Shilling from USC and senior two-meter man Tim Hutten from UC Irvine. The presentation of the award is slated for June 7, 2008 at the Olympic Club's City Clubhouse on 524 Post Street in San Francisco. Last June, standout John Mann became the first Cal athlete to be selected for the Cutino Award after Bears won the 2006 national crown. Attila Banhidy was a Cutino award finalist in 2003-04.
Sharf, named the 2007 NCAA Tournament MVP following Cal's 8-6 victory over USC, paced the Bears with 98 goals in 30 matches this season, was second in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation with 3.27 goals per game, and led Cal in scoring in 23 of 32 matches. He was also first-team All-MPSF and MPSF All-Tournament, and was twice named MPSF Player of the Week (Nov. 12, Sept. 4). Sharf became Cal's all-time single-season scoring leader with his 98 goals, topping Chris Humbert's 95 goals in 1990.
"We are all very excited and proud that Michael is a finalist for this award," said Cal coach Kirk Everist, who as a star player led the Bears to NCAA titles in 1987 and 1988, and has now guided Cal to back-to-back national titles in 2006 and 2007. "Pete (Cutino) had a great influence on me, and to have one of our players in the running to receive his award means a great deal to the program, and to me personally."
The namesake of the Cutino Award, Peter Cutino, was the Bears' legendary and beloved water polo coach from 1963-88 and is one of the greatest figures in United States water polo history. The long-time Cal and Olympic Club coach led 21 teams to national titles, including guiding the Bears to eight NCAA championships. Cutino had been the United States' coach in the Olympic Games, Pan-American Games, World Championships, World University Games, Maccabiah Games and many other international tournaments. He was also honored 17-times with the Water Polo Coach of the Year award and was elected to the United States Water Polo Hall of Fame.
Included in Cutino's championship teams were three Olympic Club teams. The Olympic Club squads of 1991 to 1993 were national champions under Cutino's tutelage and helped solidify The Olympic Club's distinguished water polo tradition. Founded in 1860, The Olympic Club of San Francisco is the oldest athletic club in the United States.
The annual Peter J. Cutino Award is presented to the nation's top male and female collegiate water polo players, as voted on by a distinguished panel of collegiate coaches. Each winner will receive a trophy recognizing their individual achievements and a perpetual trophy will remain on display at the Olympic Club.