By Scott Ball
(This article appeared in the Fall 2013 issue of the Cal Sports Quarterly)
The Nesbit family has set an example of academic and athletic excellence on the Berkeley campus for over 60 years, so it is not surprising Graham Nesbit has long been steeped in the tradition of Cal water polo.
Graham is the latest in the line of Nesbits to grace Spieker Aquatics Complex while studying at Cal. The junior attacker from La Canada, Calif., was Scholar-Athlete of the Year on Kirk Everist’s squad last season after sporting a 3.8 GPA, and now has a goal to enter Cal’s prestigious Haas School of Business in the fall of 2014.
“Attending the Haas School of Business would teach me how to combine my business aspirations with my interest in environmental issues,” Nesbit said. “In the summer of 2012, my teammate Thomas Agramonte and I were driving up the coast to begin summer water polo training and started developing a business plan for an apparel company that would make eco-friendly clothes and raise awareness of the need for oceanic preservation.”
The family’s love of the water began over 60 years ago with Graham’s grandfather, Don Nesbit Sr., who was a Cal undergraduate and a member of the Bears’ swim team. Since his graduation with a business degree in 1947, Don Sr., now 91, has regularly attended Cal water polo matches throughout the past six decades.
Uncle Don Jr. was the next Nesbit to jump into the Cal pool, lettering in swimming in 1969 and in water polo in 1971. Graham’s father, Scott, followed and became a four-year letterwinner in swimming, a 1975 All-American as a member of the Bears’ 400 free relay, and was part of Cal’s first-ever NCAA water polo champions in 1973.
Brother, Andrew, joined the Cal family in 2005, and it was his experience on the Berkeley campus that had the greatest influence on Graham. Andrew was Cal water polo’s top scholar-athlete with a 3.9 GPA, and was a member of the Bears’ latest NCAA championship squad during the 2006-07 campaign.
“I was motivated to come to Cal after hearing how much my brother had enjoyed himself,” Nesbit said. “Now that I have been part of the water polo program for the last two years, it has been my interactions with my teammates that had made it so worthwhile. I may have had the top GPA on the team last season, but I am not alone in that position. Our team is an intelligent and motivated group of guys who understand the value of getting an education at Cal. Coach Everist is a huge influence in our academic success and instills in us an appreciation of all the opportunities available to us on campus.”
“Graham is a hard-working young man in all aspects of his life,” Everist explained. “He has high standards and expectations for himself and is willing to do the necessary work to accomplish his goals. He has been a pleasure to coach and is a student-athlete who all of us should be very proud of.”
For the Nesbits, Cal has been a major influence on their lives for 60 years and given Graham’s success, it should remain so for a long time to come.