Among all of the clamor about a new NCAA record, another milestone marker went nearly unnoticed – even by the man himself.
“To be honest I didn’t even know,” said coach Adam Wright. “So there you go. That’s how I feel; I literally had no clue.”
The historic afternoon of the Sunday game against No. 11 UC Davis marked not only the 52nd consecutive victory for the No. 1 UCLA, but Wright’s 200th career victory at the helm of the men’s water polo program.
“I think it’s really a credit to the guys,” Wright said. “Their commitment every day to doing things the right way, their commitment to the program, their commitment to trusting the system, their commitment to each other.”
Over the culmination of eight seasons, Wright now bolsters a 200-30 overall record. His team’s winning percentage of 87 is the highest for any UCLA coach ever and higher than any active NCAA coach.
Undergraduate assistant coach Danny McClintick, a captain during UCLA’s perfect season last year and 2014 NCAA Tournament Most Valuable Player, has played and coached under Wright for the past five years.
“I’ve been around Adam since even long before this win streak started, and I’ve been there when we weren’t successful, and I’ve been there when we were successful,” McClintick said. “But just to see the way that he goes about business and takes care of things the right way, I think, is pretty incredible.”
In each of the past two years when the Bruins have won the national championship, Wright has been named ACWPC Division I Coach of the Year.
“By far he’s the best coach that I’ve ever heard or seen of, and I’ve had a lot of coaching over my career, some of the best in the world apparently, and I’ve never seen anything like it,” said senior attacker Ryder Roberts.
Roberts, who earned First Team All-American honors and 2015 NCAA Tournament MVP, led Wright’s team with 57 goals during last year’s season.
“The amount of time, the amount of effort, the amount of detail that goes into everything he does, it’s truly inspirational,” Roberts said. “For anybody that’s been around long enough, they know exactly how much time and effort goes into preparing us the way he does, and that’s something super inspiring.”
Wright is a little more than halfway through his eighth season and already has more total wins than former coaches Adam Krikorian and Guy Baker, who coached the program for nine and eight seasons respectively.
“I’ve seen how much he’s willing to adapt, and I think that’s tough for a lot of coaches that are set in their ways or have a certain way of doing things,” McClintick said. “His thing is what’s best for the team … that is a true testament to someone who puts his ego aside and always is trying to become the best coach that he can become so his team can become the best they can become.”