In Depth With Coach Hunt

Two-time All American Marc Hunt is going into his ninth season as the head coach for UC Irvine’s Men’s Water Polo team. Along with assisting for close to five years at UCI, he has guided the Anteaters to a top five ranking in the final national poll three times.

Carla Kekejian: The team was undefeated until their recent losses against Pepperdine and LMU. How was the team preparing to have such a strong start in the season? What do you attribute that success to?

Marc Hunt: We are a young team, and I felt we had good results back East.  We still need a lot of improvement.  We are confident we know which direction to aim our effort.

CK: Other than winning of course, what are the team’s goals for the upcoming games?

MH: Maintain a present moment mind frame. We are focused on our next game. We have a specific game plan, and we work to maximize our execution. Get better, every day.

CK: Does the team have any tactics different from last season?

MH: We graduated out four key seniors in 2012.  We have many new players in key positions. Mitch Wise draws a lot of attention; however our setters, Jacob Mourer and newcomer Tyler Mancuso, are having greater impact this year. We are adjusting to new personnel, and building a new team. 

CK: How is the team working together? For instance, how is their chemistry as a whole?

MH: We are improving all the time.  I feel we give good focus in training to help build our cohesiveness. That said, we need to be much better than we are at the moment. Every good team must work well together, and we need to achieve this goal. 

CK: What is your favorite part about coaching?

MH:  I coach for many different aspects of the job. I really enjoy dealing with my players. Developing and teaching. I like to see my team have success in the classroom. That is a very important lesson. I love to compete. Playing at home, under the lights at Anteater Pool, holds many fond memories. I also want to help the sport grow at the NCAA level and internationally.

CK: What is the most difficult part about being a coach?

MH: Of course there are a lot of challenges. I don’t look at coaching as being difficult. I focus on meeting every day’s challenges. That’s the fun part of coaching.   Some are easier than others.  All are challenging. If it was easy, everybody would do it. 

CK: You served as interim head coach for the USA National Team. What is the biggest difference between that experience and coaching for a college team?

MH: It’s an honor to represent your country at the highest levels of competition. I do my best to help support USA Water Polo.  I also feel it’s an honor to represent the tradition-rich program that’s UC Irvine Water Polo. So it’s similar in the respect that I give both my greatest effort. The players on both teams want to win just as bad. It’s my job to help them do it. 

CK: In all your years of coaching, who is one player that has entirely stood out to you? Why?

MH: This  could never be short of a broad response. I’ve played with, coached and coached with some of the best and brightest minds that water polo has to offer. I’m thankful to Coach Ted Newland that he helped me capitalize on these opportunities. Without him I never would have developed into a better than average player and coach.  So I would have to say Newland is the most prominent water polo figure I’ve been associated with. 

CK: Career-wise, where do you see yourself in 5 years?

MH: I’m focusing on my team, and our next game. In the back of my mind I’m beginning to think of the next games after that. 

CK: If you could do one thing other than coaching collegiate water polo, what would it be?

MH: Thoughts like that don’t enter my mind. Again, my focus is on my team, and our next game.