June 16, 2010

Northridge, Calif. - Marcelo Leonardi began the 2009-10 school year as the "interim" head coach of the Cal State Northridge women's water polo team.

Based on the tremendous success of the team in 2010, the word "interim" has been deleted from his title.

It's official ... Leonardi is the "head coach" of the nationally-ranked women's water polo program at Cal State Northridge as announced today by CSUN Athletic Director Rick Mazzuto.

"As interim head coach, Marcelo displayed leadership, a great ability to teach and motivate the team, and that resulted in the best water polo season in school history this past spring," said Mazzuto. "I am delighted Marcelo is joining us as head coach of the Women's Water Polo program."

Leonardi was given the interim head coaching position shortly after the school year started in 2009-10. His accomplishments did not go unnoticed.

Expectations were high at the start of the 2010 season, and nearly all the goals were met - a school record 28 wins (28-8), a first place showing in the Big West Conference regular season, and a national ranking of ninth, the highest ranking in school history.

Team and individual school records were broken including wins (28), single season goals (371), single season assists (347), career saves by senior goalkeeper Jillian Stapf (1,305) and single season goals by sophomore Whitney Delgado (80).

Five Matador players earned All-Big West honors including League Player of the Year Jillian Stapf, and first team selections Whitney Delgado and Sydney Sonoda.

Four Cal State Northridge players finished in the Top-10 in career goals including Whitney Delgado (#5, 109 goals), Chelsea Curran (#8, 91 goals), Sydney Sonoda (#9, 90 goals) and Kirra Kylander (#10, 88 goals).

"I am very proud and excited to have the opportunity to be the head coach of the women's water polo program at Cal State Northridge," said Leonardi. "I hope to continue to build upon the academic and athletic excellence of the program at CSUN."

Before his interim head coaching responsibilities at CSUN in 2010, Leonardi served the previous four seasons (2006-09) as a Matador assistant coach.

Before arriving at Cal State Northridge, Leonardi served as head coach of the El Rancho High School's water polo and swim programs for six years. Under his leadership, the Dons won the Del Rio League water polo titles in 2003 and 2004.

During the 2004 season, Leonardi coached the Dons to the CIF Division III championship game. For his efforts, Leonardi was named the CIF Division III Coach of the Year.

Also in 2004, Leonardi coached El Rancho HS to the league title in swimming.

Also among Leonardi's coaching highlights include being named Coastal California Women's National Youth Zone Coach (2003-05), Top 40 women's Speedo Head Coach for Team Graffiti in 2004 and founder, director and coach for the El Rancho Water Polo Club (2002-09). Leonardi has also coached several age group clubs in recent years.

Leonardi has also been selected as the San Gabriel Valley Women's All-Star water polo coach three times, as well as the SGV women's water polo district coach in 2004.

Leonardi graduated from Whittier College in 1998 with a bachelor's degree in Biology and Spanish. In 2001, Leonardi earned his master's degree in Education. Two years later, Leonardi added a teaching credential in Biology/Life Sciences.

Leonardi is nearing completion of his Ed.D in Leadership at Azusa Pacific.

Marcelo Memo
Marcelo Leonardi was recently named as an assistant coach with the United States Junior National team and received an award as the top Olympic Development Program coach for the Southern Region.

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