John Abdou was named the associate head coach of the UCSB men’s water polo team in January 2011. Abdou came to UCSB after serving as the head men’s and women’s water polo coach at Bucknell.
Abdou, a 2001 graduate of UC Irvine, spent six years as a member of the Bison men’s and women’s water polo coaching staffs, serving as an assistant coach, associate head coach, interim head coach and head coach over that span.
In his three years at the helm of the men’s program, Abdou helped the Bison to a 47-46 record. Bucknell faced 47 ranked opponents over that span and spent a total of 21 weeks in the national rankings, climbing as high as No. 17. Including his tenure as an assistant coach, the Bison men’s program finished in the top five at the Eastern Championship all six years Abdou was associated with the program, including its best finish in 16 years (third) in 2009.
This past fall Abdou earned his first career Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) Southern Division Coach of the Year honor on the men’s side after leading the Bison to a second-place finish at the Southern Championships, their best showing since 1993.
On the women’s side, Abdou earned a Coach of the Year honors in each of his three years. Bucknell performed admirably during his stint as interim head coach when he led the squad to a program-record 26 victories and a sixth-place showing at the Eastern Championship. Bucknell was nationally ranked for six weeks during the season, climbing as high as No. 19 in the polls, the best ranking in the then decade-long existence of the program.
Abdou continued that momentum over the last two campaigns, helping the Bison to a combined 35-27 mark over that span and a 2010 Southern Division Championship title, the first in program history. Since arriving at Bucknell in the summer of 2005, Abdou helped the Bison women’s team post a pair of 20-win campaigns and accumulate an overall record of 99-63 (.617).
Prior to his stint at Bucknell, Abdou served as the director and head coach of both the men’s and women’s water polo programs at Burbank High School in Burbank, Calif., from 2001-2005. The area’s Girls Water Polo Coach of the Year winner in 2004 and 2005, Abdou took a pair of teams with losing records and transformed them into perennial winners, participating in the league playoffs each of the last three years.
Along with handling the coaching duties at Burbank, Abdou was a social science teacher. He was voted one of Los Angeles’ Most Inspirational Teachers in 2005 and was chosen to pioneer the school’s first advanced placement course in psychology. He also handled duties as the advisor for the senior class in 2005.
Abdou has also organized and conducted district tryouts for United States Water Polo as the Wilshire District boys cadet coach. He also worked with United States Water Polo as the C.C. Zone girls’ youth assistant coach. Since 2002, Abdou has been part of the coaching staff at the Naval Academy Water Polo Camp.
Abdou got his start in coaching when he was the head assistant boys’ water polo coach as his alma mater, Temple City High School in Temple City, Calif., in 1998. As a player at Temple City, Abdou earned all-league and team MVP honors while serving as team captain.
Abdou, who serves the U.S. Water Polo Northeast Zone as a coach in several capacities, played for the U.S. Junior National Team during his freshman year at UC Irvine. He is currently an assistant coach of the U.S. Men’s Senior National “B” Team and in the summer of 2011, he served as an assistant coach for the U.S. at the World University Games in China.
He earned his Master’s Degree in Education from Bucknell University in May 2012.