Director of Aquatics and Head Men’s & Women’s Water Polo Coach Justin Pudwill announced his resignation from his positions Wednesday morning. To the shock of many players, Coach Pudwill held a meeting on Monday at 5 p.m. with both the men’s and women’s teams to announce his resignation. However, he sent out an email to the teams Saturday morning following their SCIAC semi-finals loss against Pomona. First-year goalie Lauren Maugé explained how the teams received the situation after they found out. “None of us had any idea he wouldn’t be coming back next year,” said Maugé. “So, both the men’s and women’s team group chats were blowing up Saturday morning when we found out.” Second-year attacker Hannah Rodriguez said the teams were sad to hear Pudwill will be moving on. “The team was sad to hear the news, but we understand this is just a part of sports,” said Rodriguez. Maugé agrees, “It’s definitely going to be strange without him next year, but we are all fully confident that he’ll be leaving us in great hands,” said Maugé.
Teams were officially informed during their Monday meeting, but were confused when they were not given any clarification. “I was initially confused,” said Rodriguez. “A little less so now, but we still haven’t been given any explanation as to why he’s leaving.” first-year goalie Noa Cravens echoed Rodriguez’s confusion, yet expressed their trust in the future coach. “It’s always hard for players when switching coaches, but I trust that our Athletic Department will pick a well qualified person for the position,” said Cravens. Maugé shares Cravens’ faith in Whittier’s ability to replace Pudwill, saying, “Water polo is huge in Southern California, so there’s a good chance the incoming coach will be someone reputable who knows what they’re doing and does it well. In the wake of [Pudwill’s] departure, that’s a pretty comforting thought to hold on to.” In addition to shock, team members shared their support for Pudwill in his future and were appreciative of his leadership. “I’m grateful for the things [Coach Pudwill] has done for my team and the program, and what he has taught me,” said Noa Cravens. “I wish him the best as he explores his new path in life,” added Rodriguez.
Pudwill’s last day as acting coach and Director of Aquatics will be June 23, and the yet-to-be-decided new director and coach will start on July 1. There will be a national search to fill the position.