Aggies head to WWPA Championship in search of first title since 1997
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 has made an immediate impact in his young career at the helm, guiding the Aggies to undefeated conference records in each of the 2013 and 2015 seasons. The 2015 squad reached new heights: the program's best win-loss percentage (.692) since 2007 and the highest national ranking (No. 9) since 2011. For his achievements, Leyson was awarded the Monte Nitzkowski Distinguished Men’s Coaching Award by USA Water Polo. He also served as the head coach for USA NorCal in the second season of the USAWP National League.
In three years, Leyson has amassed a 48-38 overall record with a 15-2 mark in the Western Water Polo Association.
Leyson's experience previously featured roles as assistant coach at perennial powers UCLA (2011-13) and USC (2000-02), as well as 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.
Leyson's experience in Spain later paid dividends in his coaching career: the 2015 Aggies took part in an eight-day team training camp at the Barcelona International Water Polo Academy.
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.