Aug. 26, 1998
One of the greatest names in American water polo history, Peter Asch, was named today as the head coach of Cal's women's water polo team. Asch, who earned All-America honors in water polo at Cal three straight years from 1967-69, later won a bronze medal as part of the U.S. Olympic team in 1972 and was inducted into the Cal Hall of Fame in 1997, replaces Maureen O'Toole, who resigned as Cal's head coach earlier this week.
O'Toole made the decision to resign for personal reasons, indicating also that she wanted to devote more time to her career as a member of the U.S. Women's National team which is attempting to qualify for the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.
Asch actually served as Cal's interim head coach during the collegiate national tournament this past April, when O'Toole had left the team for personal reasons. During his brief time with the Golden Bear team, he helped the Bears finish second nationally behind UCLA, including an upset of second-ranked Stanford in the national semifinals. It was that experience that convinced him to accept the head coaching position that was offered Wednesday morning by Athletic Director John Kasser and Associate A.D. Bob Driscoll.
Following a distinguished college and amateur career, Asch was equally successful in the business world. He rose to the position of senior vice president of Bank of America before he retired after 22 years in the banking industry.
Asch returned to the sport of water polo in 1994, coaching age-group girls' teams. He served as the head coach at Miramonte High School girls' teams from 1995 through '97, helping his teams capture a pair of North Coast Section titles. In addition, he has served as a part-time aide to Cal coach Steve Heaston for the Golden Bear men's team each fall, as well.
Asch said he accepted the position at Cal for a variety of reasons. "There weren't many positions in college coaching I would have considered," said Asch. "I really enjoyed working with the younger girls, and my daughter is just 12, so coaching her through high school would have been real special. But coming back to my alma mater and being able to stay right here near my home was very attractive to me.
"The decisive factor was how great a time I had with the Cal team last spring. They were so responsive during a tough time with a coaching replacement that I felt like I wanted to be a part of helping the program."
Asch will have his hands full this year as the Bears lose four starters off last year's 27-6 team. "We have some good young players returning, but we'll have a big challenge replacing the four players who are no longer with us," said Asch. "That challenge will also make things fun."
Asch indicated he hoped to name a full-time assistant coach in the next several days.
TRANSACTIONS: CALIFORNIA - Announced the resignation of Maureen O'Toole and the hiring of Peter Asch as women's water polo coach.