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KEVIN SULLIVAN, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Capstrano Valley's Steve Yancey is the Register's boys water polo coach of the year.

Boys water polo coach of the year: Steve Yancey, Capistrano Valley

STAFF WRITER

The fire burned a little stronger in Steve Yancey.

In his 15th season as Capistrano Valley’s boys water polo coach, he constructed one of his more talented squads and his players committed to a championship path that he knows well.

“It re-invigorated me,” the 57-year-old said of the season. “It helped me as much as it helped the kids.”

When the trek was over, Capistrano Valley had returned to the CIF-Southern Section finals for the first time since 1991.

The Cougars (20-12) fell in the Division 3 final to top-seeded Murrieta Valley, 12-8, but the Cougars and Yancey completed their renaissance.

Yancey is the Register’s boys water polo coach of the year for the first time at Capistrano Valley. He won the award in 1991 after guiding San Clemente and future Olympian Jeremy Laster to a CIF Division 1 title.

The Cougars also captured their fourth Sea View League title, briefly broke into the Orange County top 10 after a strong South Coast Tournament and produced All-County selection Austin Sechrest.

“It was a great journey,” Yancey said. “When I was at San Clemente, we got to the finals in five years and it has taken 15 at Capo.

“It’s been eating at me and I’m glad that I had the guys who were willing to travel the path that you have to take to the finals.”

The waters were choppy at some points, but also featured highlights such as a last-second, 9–8 victory against Laguna Beach in the CIF-SS semifinals. The Breakers had beaten the Cougars about two weeks earlier.

Despite returning only three starters from 2014, Yancey focused his team on reaching the finals.

“Every connotation that I made about the season, it didn’t end in the playoffs. It ended Nov. 21 (in finals),” he said. “They became more believers.”

Yancey also credits the team’s success to assistant coaches Kendra Yancey, his 27-year-old old daughter, and Tim Renden.

“(She provided) perspective,” Yancey said of Kendra, also the girls basketball coach at Capistrano Valley. “She helped me not let time pass me by.”

Contact the writer: dalbano@ocregister.com


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