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Bill Barnett played water polo and swam for Fullerton College from 1961 to 1963. After Fullerton College, Barnett played water polo at Long Beach State from 1963 to 1965. From there, he would begin his prestigious coaching career. In 1966 Barnett became the new head coach of the boy’s water polo team at Newport Harbor High School where his teams won ten CIF 4A Championship titles. Seven of his teams were CIF 4A runner-ups. Barnett was honored as CIF “Coach of the Year” in 1968, 1970, 1975, 1977, 1978, and has developed over one-hundred High School All-Americans.
Thirty years after he began his coaching career at Newport Harbor, in 1996 Barnett took on the head coaching duties at the same school for the girl’s water polo team. He would lead them to three CIF 4A Championship titles, and continues to push his team in the direction of another championship today. Since 1967, Barnett coached the Newport Water Polo Foundation Age Group and Senior Teams where his teams were four-time National Jr. Olympic Champions. He also established the Junior Team for 19 and under.
Barnett is also a three-time Olympic men’s water polo coach (1988 silver medal, 1992, and 2000). He is also one of only three coaches in U.S. Water Polo History to coach a team to a silver medal.
Bill led the US National Team to the FINA Cup 4 Times (1985, 1987, 1989, 1991). As the head coach of Team USA in 1991, Bill guided the men’s team to the FINA Cup Championship title. This was the first ever for the United States as Barnett was honored as the World Coach of the Year.