A for Athlete


  • Mike Schofield returns for his 26th season at the helm of the Navy water polo program. Under his direction, the Mids have won nine Eastern Championships and competed in 13 NCAA Tournaments. Nineteen Navy athletes have earned 27 All-America honors under Schofield.

Navy posted a 22-9 record a year ago which completed its 28th straight season of winning at least 19 games. The Mids once again won the CWPA Southern Division Tournament title and owned an 11-match winning streak late in the year, while advancing to the CWPA Eastern title game for the fifth straight year.

The Mids have dominated the East, compiling a remarkable 89-11 (.890) record against East Coast teams in the last five years.

The 2008 season was supposed to be a rebuilding year for the Mids. However, all Navy did was win its third straight Eastern title, its fifth title since 2000, while finishing with a 20-11 record, its 27th straight year winning at least 19 games. Navy became the first program to win three straight CWPA Eastern titles twice, accomplishing the feat from 1986-88 as well as 2006-08.

The 2007 team compiled a 30-6 record, setting a school record for wins in a season. The Mids won their eighth Eastern title and finished third at the NCAA Championship, also a program best. Navy went 19-1 for the second straight year against Eastern teams and boasted a school-record 19-game winning streak heading into the NCAA Tournament. In the NCAA Tournament, Navy gave top-seeded California all it could handle, before falling 8-5. Navy rallied in the consolation game to defeat Loyola Marymount, 7-6, putting a cap on the best season in school history.

For his efforts, Schofield was named the 2007 Eastern Coach of the Year for the second straight season and eighth time in his career.

Schofield has had a long line of All-American athletes under his guidance. In 2009, both Brett Rajchel and Luke Baldwin were named Honorable Mention All-America, running the All-American total to 27. It marked the 11th straight year that a Navy water polo player was named All-American, beginning with Jason Pace (HM) in 1999. Sean Foster (2nd) and Nick Hill (HM) followed up Pace's honor in 2000. Hill was named honorable mention twice more in 2001 and 2002. In 2003, Joe Donahue was a third-team selection. Following Donahue, Patrick Rollo and Alex Ratcliffe were third-team selections in 2004 and 2005. Aaron Recko and George Naughton were named to the team in 2006, while Recko and Mulvey were honored in 2007. Mulvey (3rd team) and Kyle Wertz (HM) were honored in 2009.

The Mids also succeed in the classroom. Last year, seven players received CWPA Academic All-America citations, running the total to 38 since the 2001 season. In 2007, Led by Eric Gardiner's 4.00 GPA, one of six players nationally to record a 4.00, 10 Navy players were honored by the Collegiate Water Polo Association as having a 3.20 GPA or better. Gardiner earned a prestigious NCAA postgraduate scholarship, was named first-team CoSIDA All-American (at-large team) and was a Marshall Scholarship recipient.

Schofield is well recognized in the water polo community, having also coached on the international level, guiding the U.S. Water Polo Team at the 1997 World University Games to a fifth-place finish. He also served as an assistant for the 1992 National Team and as an assistant for the U.S. Water Polo Team that won gold medals at the World University Games in both 1991 and 1993.

The Midshipmen compete in the Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA), which consists of 19 schools divided into northern and southern divisions. The southern division has been dominated by Navy, as it has won 11-of-16 divisional titles since 1993. Navy owns a 48-5 record in the CWPA Southern Tournament.

Schofield also directs the Naval Academy Aquatic Club, which produces some of the top young water polo players and swimmers in the country, many of whom have continued their careers at the Naval Academy.

Schofield graduated from Pittsburgh in 1979, where he was the captain of the water polo team and received most valuable player recognition. In 1982, Schofield arrived in Annapolis and assisted in resurrecting a water polo program that had been dormant for 32 years. He took over the head coaching duties in 1985, and his teams have enjoyed 21 20-plus win seasons, playing to an overall record of 531-207. Schofield has been named Eastern Coach of the Year eight times (1982, 1984, 1986, 1990, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007). In 2004, Schofield added National Coach of the Year to his resume, and in March of 2004, Schofield was inducted into the United States Water Polo Hall of Fame.

Mike, his wife, Gina, and their sons, Kevin (15) and Matthew (11), reside in Arnold, Md.