Lynn leaves school for Newport Harbor

By Judd Liebman

After two years at the school and a CIF championship, water polo Head Coach Robert Lynn has decided to take a job at Newport Harbor as the boys’ swimming and water polo coach.

Lynn will be replaced by interim Program Head Chris Pulido, Head of Athletics Audrius Barzdukas said, while the school begins an immediate search for a new coach.

Lynn called a meeting Friday afternoon to tell his players that he will fill the coaching vacancy in Long Beach. Lynn explained that he is leaving because of the location of his future job. Lynn has an 11-day-old son and wants to work closer to home, Barzdukas said. 
“Robert is among the finest water polo coaches in the world, and we wish him the best going forward in his life,” Barzdukas said.

“We appreciate all that Robert has given to our water polo program over the past two years,” Barzdukas said in a statement. “We are in a better place because of his efforts.”

Lynn said he wanted to thank Harvard-Westlake “for all of the support they have given me over the past two years. I will cherish the memories we created as a program and all of the success we enjoyed. Our students are amazing and they have made me a better coach.”

Pulido coached the JV girls’ water polo team this year and has worked in the middle school program. After playing at UCLA and then in Europe, Pulido was an assistant coach at Stanford University.
In the small community of water polo, current varsity players have known Pulido for some time, Barzdukas said. Though some players are already familiar with Pulido, Barzdukas said he will continue searching for a new coach while Pulido is expected to work with the teams through the summer. 
Neither Barzdukas nor varsity members believe that the coaching change will drastically affect play.

“There is a strong group of seniors, and we would play well for Joe Torre, or we would play well for Mussolini if he came to teach us water polo,” Brian Graziano ’12 said. 

“I think it was good that [Lynn left] before the summer because we have the whole summer to learn the new system under a different coach, so it was actually relatively good timing,” Richard Polo ’12 said. 

—Additional reporting by David Kolin