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Tuesday, December 11 , 2018, 3:51 pm | Fair 67º

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Chris Parrish Leaving Dos Pueblos After Tremendous Coaching Career in Aquatics

A remarkable coaching career came to end this winter, with Chris Parrish stepping down as head of the water polo programs and boys swim team at Dos Pueblos.

Parrish is leaving Dos Pueblos to take a job in the private sector. The position will allow him to spend more time with his family.

“Chris has had a brilliant career as a teacher and a coach here at Dos Pueblos,” athletic director Dan Feldhaus said.  We are sad to see him go, but we are excited for him as he starts this new chapter in his life. He will truly be missed by his fellow coaches, his student athletes and the entire Dos Pueblos aquatics community.”

Parrish took Dos Pueblos aquatics to great heights in his 14 years at the school. In water polo, he guided the boys team to a pair of CIF championships (2004, 2005) and seven Channel League titles. His winning percentage was .639 (257-145). Under his leadership, the Chargers scored big in the classroom, too, with the team winning eight CIF Academic Championships. Seventeen of his players went on to play NCAA Division 1 water polo, including his son, Blake, who just completed his freshman year at Stanford.

Parrish poses with this year’s Dos Pueblos girls water polo team after knocking off top-ranked Laguna Beach. Click to view larger
Parrish poses with this year’s Dos Pueblos girls water polo team after knocking off top-ranked Laguna Beach. (Peter Neushul photo)

One of his fondest memories comes from the 2003 boys water polo team.

“Remarkably, the fondest memory I have as a coach at DP was the 2003 CIF semifinal game we lost to San Marcos at UCSB’s Campus Pool," he said. "At the time, it was the hardest loss I had ever had, as a coach or player.  But in retrospect I recognize that it shaped the program for the next 13 years.  The players on the team that bounced back the next year to win two consecutive CIF titles learned from that loss.  It is totally cliché, but it isn’t about getting knocked down, it's about what you choose to do once your knocked down.  That group of athletes set a standard and formed a legacy of hard work, dedication, and teamwork that has been a part of the program ever since.”

Parrish took over as coach of the girls water polo team for the 2010-11 season and guided the Chargers to an undefeated season and a CIF Division 1 Championship, the fourth straight overall CIF title (three in D1, one in D2) by the team. He assisted Danelle Little on the three other title teams and was part of DP’s CIF Division 1-record 69-game win streak.

This year's team finished second in the Channel League, advanced to the CIF Division 1 quarterfinals and posted some big wins during the season. The Chargers knocked off top-seeded Laguna Beach, ending the Breakers' 63-game win streak, and beat Foothill in the third-place game at the Southern California Championships.

In his short time as head girls coach, 13 of his athletes moved on to NCAA Division 1 schools. Among them is Kiley Neushul, a two-time national collegiate Player of the Year and three-time national champion at Stanford, and presently a key member of the U.S. Women’s National Team that’s preparing for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Parrish said all the athletes he coached "took me on a journey.  They often tested me (especially the gifted), but mostly they kept me humble.  The caliber of athletes that I had the opportunity to coach is stunning, but I had very little to do with their success.

"Coaching Blake was an amazing experience," he noted about his son. "He probably has a very different perspective on the experience.  I have always been proud of my athletes, but being able to be a part of my son’s high school journey brought about a whole different level of pride.  I will forever be grateful to have witnessed it."

Parrish also enjoyed great success as the boys swim coach at DP. His teams never lost a dual meet in his 14 years at the helm, going 82-0, and the Chargers went 50-2 in league championship meets.  The program has a current streak of 13 consecutive league titles.

Parrish’s DP boys won the CIF Division 1 team title in 2004 and were runners-up in 2006. Seventeen of his swimmers received NCAA Division 1 scholarships and 52 accomplished All-American performances.

His swimmers also performed well in the classroom. Six times the Chargers were named CIF Academic Champions.

“While Chris has had quite a bit of success in coaching, the greater impact has been in the relationships he has developed with the athletes he’s coached,” Feldhaus said. “The swimmers and water polo players loved playing for him. He was always a positive role model, and his care of them as individuals extended far beyond athletics.”

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