Ratko Rudic, one of the most accomplished coaches in the history of water polo, has announced his retirement.
Rudic has coached a number of clubs around the world, including 4 Olympic gold medals and an additional bronze medal as a coach. In 1984 and 1988, he led Yugoslovia to back-to-back Olympic gold medals. Four years later, he led the Italians to the top of the podium in Barcelona. In 1996, the Italians won bronze, and in his final podium appearance as a coach, for his crowning achievement, he led his home Croatian team to another gold medal in London in 2012.
- 1984-1988 – Yugoslavia
- 1990-2000 – Italy
- 2001-2004 – United States
- 2004-2012 – Croatia
- 2013-2016 – Brazil
- 2018-2020 – Pro Recco (Italian club)
After those 2012 Games, he retired from coaching to become the sports director of the Croatian Water Polo Federation, but that was a short-lived retirement. He returned to lead the Brazilian National Team to its home Olympics in 2016, which was the first that the Brazilian men participated in since 1984. While their spot was secured as the host team, the Brazilians surprised to finish 8th, two spots ahead of the United States, in the tournament. Brazilian goalie Slobodan Soro led all players in saves-per-match, and the team even pulled off a 6-5 upset over Serbia in the group stages. Serbia went on to win gold in the tournament. The Serbians were unbeaten in more than 2 years coming into the Olympics.
Rudic, who is credited for carrying the legendary Yugoslavian system forward into modern water polo, with Americans saying that swimmers were training up to 8 hours a day and 18,000 meters.
Among his other accomplishments as a coach are 3 World Championships, 2 World Cup golds, a FINA World League title, and 3 European Championships.
In his brief 2-year stint with Italian side Pro Recco, arguably the most accomplished water polo club in history with 8 LEN Champions League titles, he led the club to a 2019 Italian League championship (their 33rd), the 2019 Coppa Italia (their 14th), and a 3rd-place finish in the Champions League.
As a player, he won a silver medal with Yugoslavia at the 1980 Olympic Games. In 2007 he was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame, and has received national awards in Yugoslavia, Croatia, and Italy.