Daniel Leyson, who brings more than 25 years of high-level coaching and playing experience at the collegiate and international levels, was announced as UC Davis men's water polo head coach on May 22, 2013.
He made an immediate impact in just his first season, guiding the Aggies to a perfect 5-0 conference record that fall and a berth in the Western Water Polo Association title game. Leyson's program entered the 2014 year ranked No. 11 in the preseason, tied for the best in school history.
Leyson's experience features roles as assistant coach at perennial powers UCLA (2011-13) and USC (2000-02), as well as serving as an assistant for the U.S. men's water polo national team when it participated in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece.
He has worked alongside 10-time national coach of the year Jovan Vavic at USC and assisted legendary coach Ratko Rudic, coach of four Olympic gold medal teams. Leyson was a three-time All-America player at USC from 1990-92 who went to play for the U.S. National Team in 1994-95 and later internationally in Barcelona, Spain.
After concluding his playing career in 1998 with Club Natacio Atletic-Barceloneta, a 1st-division Spanish team, Leyson embarked on his coaching career at USC where he assisted Vavic from 2000-02. The 2000 Trojans team finished third at the NCAA Championship.
Leyson gained valuable international experience from 2002-04 while working with Rudic on the U.S. National Team. The U.S. participated in the FINA World League, 2003 World Championships and 2003 Pan American Games before heading to Athens.
From 2005 until his arrival at UC Davis, Leyson served as head coach of the Rose Bowl Water Polo Club, which has tripled its membership to more than 200 members representing 70 schools during his tenure. He earned Best Coach accolades in the 2010 Ironman League while leading the 16-under boys team to the league's championship.
Leyson was named winner of the Bill Barnet Distinguished Men's Coach Award (Scholastic) from the U.S.A Water Polo Assembly in 2011. Three of his boys teams that year captured gold medals at the South Florida International competition. He also served as head coach for the California Coastal Zone for the Olympic Development Team (2006-07).
Leyson has served as UCLA's assistant coach for the past two seasons, helping them to a championship in the powerful Mountain Pacific Sports Federation and a pair of runner-up finishes at the NCAA Championships.
Leyson earned his undergraduate degree in business from USC in 1992 and his master's in physical education, with an emphasis on coaching, from Ball State in 2008.
He and his wife, Camille, are parents to daughter Mia and twin sons, Benjamin and Silas.