Sept. 20, 2007
BERKELEY, Calif. - Former U.S. Olympic standout Maureen O'Toole-Purcell will join the California women's water polo team as a volunteer assistant coach, Golden Bear head coach Richard Corso announced today.
"Maureen's career as a player is legendary. Her accomplishments at the domestic and international levels are of epic proportion," Corso said. "Recently, she has had the same kind of performance in the coaching ranks. Her work ethic and teaching style are a perfect match for our mission here at Cal."
O'Toole-Purcell was Cal's first women's water polo head coach, leading the team for three years from 1996-98. Her squads finished as national runners-up all three years. After combining for an 83-18 overall record, O'Toole-Purcell's .822 winning percentage still ranks tops amongst Cal women's water polo coaches. Named Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Northern Division Coach of the Year twice (1996, 1997), she helped produce some of the nation's top players, including league and NCAA Tournament MVPs Courtney Johnson and Alisa vonHartitzsch, MPSF Goalie of the Year Fana Fuqua, 14 All-Americans and 16 All-MPSF selections.
As a player, O'Toole-Purcell earned countless honors of her own and has been called one of the finest women's water polo players in the history of the game. O'Toole-Purcell is a 15-time U.S National Championship MVP, a six-time World Championships MVP and a four-time national Sportswoman of the Year as named by the U.S. Olympic Committee. After her years at Cal, O'Toole-Purcell rejoined the U.S. Olympic Team in 1997. She was the oldest and only water polo over the age of 30 at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, where the U.S. won the silver medal.
O'Toole-Purcell earned her bachelor's degree from the University of Hawaii, where she was a top scholar-athlete with 3.65 GPA. In 1990, the Long Beach, Calif., native earned a master's in education from Azusa Pacific. She is currently the head coach and technical director of the Diablo Water Polo Club, and most recently led her team to a gold medal at the 16-and-under Junior Olympics. O'Toole-Purcell resides in Danville with her husband Jim, a three-time All-American at Cal and a key member of the 1975 and 1977 NCAA championship water polo teams, and her 15-year-old daughter, Kelly.
The Bears, who are in their third season under Corso will open their 2008 season in late January.