Monte Nitzkowski, who was named the head coach for the USA men’s water polo team for the 1972, 1980, and 1984 Olympic Games, passed away earlier this week.
Prior to his coaching career, Nitzkowski swam and played water polo himself. He competed in both sports as a UCLA Bruin, and went on to represent the USA at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics, where he touched 11th overall in the 200m breaststroke.
Nitzkowski spent upwards of three decades coaching at the Long Beach City College, where the water polo team won 32 conference championships and the swim team 12 conference titles under his tenure.
He served as head coach to the USA team at multiple Pan Am Games, and the teams at the ’72 and ’84 Olympics each won a medal: the ’72 team won bronze, and the ’84 team won silver. Nitzkowski was slated to coach the team in 1980, where they were favorites for the gold, but they were unable to compete due to the American boycott of the 1980 Games.
In 1991, Nitzkowski was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) for his many contributions to aquatic sports worldwide. He was also inducted into UCLA’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2006.