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Los Alamitos' Carlson to step down after season
Highly successful Los Alamitos boys water polo coach Dave Carlson will resign after this season but will continue to coach girls water polo and teach at the Sunset League school, he said late Wednesday night.
Carlson, a two-time Register boys water polo coach of the year, said he decided to resign before the start of the season. He told Los Alamitos administrators of his decision at the beginning of the season, though word began to spread widely in Orange County water polo circles earlier in the week.
“There’s nothing bad or wrong going on,” Carlson, 38, said. “There are some other things I want to do (in life) … and I thought the timing was right.”
Carlson has guided Los Alamitos’ boys since 1999. He has led the Griffins to eight league titles and a CIF-SS Division 2 championship in 2004. The Griffins also were Division 2 runner-ups in 2002, 2003 and 2005.
Carlson has guided the Griffins’ girls water polo program to six Sunset titles.
He also has coached some of the county's best water polo players, including two-time Register player of the year Rachel Fattal and Olympian Tim Hutten.
One of the county’s most dedicated coaches, Carlson also has been coaching swimming at Los Alamitos since 2001, making him a year-round coach for the Griffins.
Carlson said he also will resign as a varsity swim coach at Los Alamitos after this spring season. He has guided the boys and girls swim teams to multiple Sunset titles.
“I have a really good situation (at Los Alamitos),” he said. “It’s hard to walk away.”
Los Alamitos’ boys water polo team, ranked third in the county, plays Friday and Saturday at the North-South Challenge in Atherton.
Esperanza boys water polo coach Galen Diaz, whose teams have been "friendly" rivals with Carlson's squads over the years, was surprised by the news.
"(Men's) water lost a good one," Diaz said Thursday at the Yorba Linda-Valencia match. "He's huge on discipline. ... He demands the best of the kids."
Diaz believes Carlson ranks among the county's all-time top coaches. He added that the Griffins' zone-press defense has been one of the signatures of Carlson's run.
Carlson said he will remain the 18-and-under boys coach at SOCAL. The club has claimed two Junior Olympics and two U.S. club titles under Carlson.