Craig Rond enters his 16th season as the head coach of both the men’s and women’s water polo teams at Cal Lutheran in 2018-19. He remains the only head coach CLU has had in the history of each program.
Rond has been tabbed the ACWPC Division III National Coach of the Year three times in his tenure with the 2006 Kingsmen and the 2007 and 2009 Regals. Most recently, he and assistant coach Cody Pletcher were selected as the SCIAC Coaching Staff of the Year for the 2017 Regals campaign.
Rond led the Regals to a pair of Collegiate III Women’s Water Polo National Championships in 2007 and 2010, defeating conference rivals Claremont-Mudd-Scripps and Occidental, respectively, by scores of 10-6 and 10-5.
In 2009, and only the sixth year of the program’s existence, Rond led the Regals to CLU’s first SCIAC Championship. At the same time, the Kingsmen earned their first SCIAC Championship appearance in school history during the fall of 2008. The Regals appeared in the NCAA National Championship Tournament in 2009, facing Division I USC, Loyola Marymount and Marist over the course of the tournament.
He has coached 32 players to ACWPC Division III All-America honors and 33 All-SCIAC polo players including the 2009 DIII National Player of the Year Meredith Butte who also becomes a CLU Hall of Fame inductee in 2017. He has also coached over 75 ACWPC All-Academic student-athletes. The Kingsmen and Regals have finished in the Top-10 across all divisions in National Team GPA over six times.
Rond recently completed a four year term (2014-17) on the NCAA Water Polo Rules Committee as well as four years on the NCAA Women’s Water Polo Championship sub-committee where he was responsible for reviewing rule changes and modifications as well as hosting the Women’s Water Polo NCAA Championship Tournaments at UCS, Stanford, UCLA and Indianapolis.
As an athlete, Rond attended Thousand Oaks High School where he was named to both swimming and water polo All-America teams. He swam at Pepperdine University until the program was dropped for Title IX compliance. He went on to become a state champion and All-America swimmer and water polo player at Ventura College. He set multiple school swimming and water polo records during his stay and was inducted into the Ventura College Athletic Hall of Fame in 2007 for his career accomplishments. Rond went on to complete his collegiate athletic career at San Jose State University where he was the captain of the men’s water polo club team and graduated with a degree in communication studies in 1989.
Professionally, Coach Rond has been an L.A. County Ocean Lifeguard for 34 seasons primarily lifeguarding the beaches of Malibu and Zuma and has been a Junior Lifeguard instructor for 14 years. Rond has been a member of three Ocean Lifeguard National Championship teams and has won the coveted Judge Taplin Bell crowning the top lifeguard relay team in California three times. He was a Masters Swimming open water national champion at five miles and has won the annual Alcatraz Island swim as well as finished in the top-three of the Hermosa to Manhattan Pier-to-Pier swim.
Rond earned his Masters Degree in exercise and sports science in 1994 from the University of Arizona. He teaches social science at his alma mater Thousand Oaks High School where he conceived one of the first high school girl’s water polo programs in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties.
He currently lives in Oxnard with Jennifer, his wife of 21 years, and three children Lexi, Delaney and Cade. He enjoys surfing, paddling, swimming boating and spending days at the beach with his family and friends.