Connor Levoff is leaving the pool deck in Santa Barbara after 17 years and moving with his family to San Diego. (Noozhawk file photo)

The emotions are high right now at the Santa Barbara 805 Water Polo Water Club as it sends 12 teams, 130 players and 16 coaches to the USA Water Polo Junior Olympics in Orange County and says goodbye to longtime coach and club director Connor Levoff.

Levoff, who started with the 805 club in 2008 while he was a student at UCSB, is moving to San Diego with his wife and two sons.

“This chapter of my life has been fulfilling, yet over time, my aspirations and values have shifted towards prioritizing my relationships with my wife and young sons, over those with my athletes and customers to a point where such a mission-driven vocation no longer aligns with my personal needs and professional desires,” he said on his LinkedIn page. Operating a business, coaching, teaching, and being on the road coaching forty weekends a year is no longer filling my emotional tank in a way that allows me to be the best father and husband I can be. I’m searching for a transition to apply my drive, dedication, and consistency into something new that provides the same level of satisfaction as the seasons of my life evolve.

“I’m striving for a new challenge that fuels my inner competitive fire and desire to learn but also allows me to focus on my family.”

Connor Levoff and Cathy Neushul have developed hundreds of area youth water polos to reach the next level. (SB 805 Water Polo Club)

The 2023 Junior Olympics will be the final competition for the Director of Water Polo and Head Coach. He has been coaching water polo at the club, high school, and intercollegiate levels for 17 years in Santa Barbara.

Levoff will be coaching the Santa Barbara 805 girls 18U team at JOs. That group won the 16U title with Levoff as the coach.

From 2008 to 2023, Levoff’s club water polo teams won 54 medals at USA Water Polo National Championships, including 15 golds.  Together with Cathy Neushul and a host of other club coaches, Levoff propelled Santa Barbara Water Polo Club to national dominance. The club was awarded the 2015 Chairman’s Cup as the Top Overall Club in USA Water Polo.  Santa Barbara also garnered Chairman’s Cup honors as the Top Women’s Club in 2014.


Levoff received the Coastal Zone Brent Bohlender Distinguished Coaching award in 2016 for his work with youth water polo teams.  That summer, Sami Hill and Kiley Neushul, members of DP’s legendary CIF title teams, won gold with Team USA at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. That team is widely regarded as the best women’s water polo team in Olympic history.  

Levoff’s streak of Olympians continued in 2021 when club members Paige Hauschild, Jamie Neushul, and Amanda Longan won gold at the Tokyo Games.

Connor Levoff jumps into the pool with his Santa Barbara 805 16U girls team after they won gold at the 2021 Junior Olympics.(SB 805 Water Polo Club).

Longan, Ryann Neushul, and Jewel Roemer are vying for spots on Team USA for the Paris Games in 2024. They are currently competing at the 2023 World Championships in Fukuoka, Japan.  Team USA defeated Australia 9-5 in bracket play, with Longan making 13 blocks and Ryann Neushul scoring two goals.

Santa Barbara Water Polo World Champions (youth, junior and senior) coached by Levoff include Hauschild, Sami Hill, Kodi Hill, Longan, Jamie Neushul, Kiley Neushul, Ryann Neushul, Tiera Schroeder, and Ava Stryker.


At the Santa Barbara 805 Water Polo Club, Levoff maintained a tradition of fundamental excellence and conditioning that set a standard for girls’ water polo in the U.S.  

“Our goal is to provide players with the tools they need to compete at the next level whatever that may be” said Levoff.  “We swim — hard — and then focus on skills and teamwork; the majority of our 18s started playing together when they were 11 years old.  They’ve played more games together than any college team.

“College coaches respect 805 and all our veteran players have an opportunity to play collegiate ball,” he continued. “That is what I am most proud of after 17 years in Santa Barbara — almost 200 women at great universities.”

This year is no exception.  

At last week’s annual club banquet and sendoff, Levoff said goodbye to 16 high school graduates headed to college: Ava Bennett, Dos Pueblos, (Pomona College); Maria Bittle, Santa Barbara High, (Fresno State); Emma Gilbert, DPHS (Harvard); Madison Haaland-Ford, San Marcos (USC); Elaia Hamilton, San Marcos (UC Berkeley); Ruby Kamir, Villanova, (Fresno State); Kiana Kellner, Ventura High (CSU Northridge); Ella Maclear, Santa Barbara (UC Berkeley); Reagan McEachen, San Marcos (Stanford); Kate Meyer, San Marcos (UC Berkeley); Lucia Notaro, Agoura (Redlands); Olivia Obando, Santa Barbara, (UC San Diego); Sophia Panoussian, San Marcos (Michigan); Ava Stryker, San Marcos, (USC); Ida Tully-Giles, Villanova Prep, (Fresno State); Hannah Tully-Giles, Villanova (Fresno State).


Levoff’s storied career in Santa Barbara began while he attended UCSB and assisted Danielle Little at Dos Pueblos during her historic three straight CIF Championships (2008 Division II, 2009-10 Division). 

Connor Levoff was an assistant coach on Dos Pueblos 2009 CIF-champion girls water polo team. (Submitted photo).

He then assisted Chris Parrish in winning a fourth straight CIF title with an unprecedented 69-game Division I high school water polo winning streak.  

Levoff took over as boys and girls head coach at Dos Pueblos in 2016, leading the boys to Channel League championships in 2017 and 2018.  His 2017 team reached the CIF Division III title game.

In 2018, his DP girls team won the Channel League and reached the CIF Division I title match in a memorable crosstown final against San Marcos before more than 1,000 fans at the Elings Aquatic Center.

In 2019, Levoff took a teaching position at Bishop Diego High, where he started the water polo and swim programs and competed in the Tri-Counties Athletic Association.


The 16 girls will be guided coach Chris Parrish; Cathy Neushul’s 14 girls team, which won gold at the National Club Championships, are now focused on reaching the podium at the JOs; Mark Walsh’s 10U girls, also National Club Champions, will vie for a medal in Irvine.

This week’s competition includes the 16 boys led by Coach Ryder Roberts and the 12U boys guided by Peera Sukavivatanachai. 

Results for boys’ and girls’ sessions are at

Noozhawk Sports Editor Barry Punzal contributed to this story.