La Cañada High School will fill another coaching void this summer following the resignation of varsity boys’ water polo coach Joshua Rodriguez on Monday. He accepted a position as an assistant water polo coach at the Air Force Academy in Colorado.
“It’s an amazing opportunity for him,” said LCHS Athletic Director Kristina Kalb, “and speaks volumes of his talent and abilities as a coach to be able to get hired in that position. We’re happy for him and sad for ourselves. He really changed the culture for the boys’ water polo team.”
Kalb said the vacancy has been posted online and plans on filling the position in the near future.
Rodriguez took over the varsity boys’ water polo program midseason in 2015 and guided the Spartans to a Rio Hondo League championship and the CIF Southern Section Division 5 semifinals in his first full year as head coach last fall. He also was an assistant to the varsity girls’ water polo and varsity boys’ swimming coaches.
“It’s a really exciting time for me,” Rodriguez said. “I saw the job posting, and I’ve always wanted to continue to progress in my career and learn and grow and coach at a high level. I applied thinking I wouldn’t get it, but I got a call back and an interview. … It was not an easy decision because I really do love working at La Cañada with Kristina, but it was a great opportunity for me.”
An eager Rodriguez filled several coaching holes and assisted Kalb in the athletic department.
“Josh was somebody who filled any seat and gave everything he could at La Cañada,” Kalb said. “Every program benefited from him being there. He was also one of the sports coordinators, working in athletic clearance and game supervision. He did a lot for us. … It’s a huge loss for La Cañada but a huge gain for the Air Force Academy program. I could not be happier for him personally, and I wish him well.”
With most of last year’s players returning, Kalb said Rodriguez left the program in a good place. Rodriguez will continue his duties as coach for two weeks before the team takes a planned break.
La Cañada’s water polo program has had success recently but has struggled with stability at the coaching position. Since legendary coach Larry Naeve, who guided the program to five CIF-SS championships, retired in 2008, the Spartans have had six coaches in eight seasons.