Entering his ninth year as head coach of the water polo team, Todd Clapper has complied a 142-87 record and led his Sun Devils to perennial placement in the national Top 5 rankings while playing in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF), the toughest league in the nation. No stranger to the sidelines of the collegiate coaching ranks, Clapper will begin his 15th season as a women's head coach, collecting a 247-170 record in that time.
The 2013 season marked the most successful year in program history for the ASU water polo team as the squad went on to finish fourth in the nation in the final CWPA Coaches Poll.
The Sun Devils combined for a 26-7 overall record last season, setting the school record in victories and posted a program-best fourth-place finish at the MPSF Championships, which is more equivalent to the national championships than even the NCAA tournament itself due to the caliber of the teams in action.
Shannon Haas and Alicia Brightwell each earned All-America honors for the second consecutive season in 2013, finishing their senior campaigns as two of the most prolific scorers in ASU history at second (200) and third (159), repectively, in career goals.
The Sun Devils were ranked as high as third over the course of the season, the best rank for a Sun Devil team in the Coaches Poll in program history.
In the last two seasons, the Sun Devils have compiled a 51-13 record under Clapper. In that time, the team has posted seven All-America honors while earning the first victory over UCLA in program history as well as beating Cal on the road for the first time ever as well.
The 2012 season was another successful year under Clapper as the women went on to finish fifth in the nation according to the final CWPA Coaches Poll. The Sun Devils combined for a 25-6 overall record on the season, smashing the school record in victories and posted a fifth-place finish at the MPSF Championships. The team was 4-3 in conference play, earning its first MPSF regular season victory since 2008 with a victory over San Diego St. on March 3, 2012.
During the 2011 season, Clapper's team posted a 12-14 overall record and concluded the year ranked No. 8 nationally. Throughout the season, the Sun Devils were ranked between in the top-15, and were ranked as high as seventh throughout the year. The team posted defeats of ranked teams from San Jose State, San Diego State, Long Beach State and UC San Diego on the season.
In 2008, ASU pulled its biggest upset by knocking off then-No. 2 USC, 8-5, at the Stanford Invitational. Prior to that game, USC had only lost 26 times since the start of 2001 season with only UCLA (17 times), Stanford (8 times) and Hawaii (once) defeating them. All three of those teams were ranked in the Top 4 every time.
Individually, Clapper has continued to grow the program by bringing some of the top talent both nationally and internationally, including Addison McGrath, who is the program's all-time leading goal and point scorer and a three-time All-American, and Rowie Webster. Alicia Brightwell will return for a second season this year and the Australian naitve looks primed to add her name to that list. In recent seasons, Clapper's student-athletes have represented several international teams at various levels, including Australia, China, Hungary, Canada, Germany and New Zealand.
Since coming to the Tempe as an assistant coach for the 2005 season, Clapper has also been busy working with international teams. He served as the 2005 U.S. Junior National Team Assistant coach before being selected as the 2006 U.S. Youth National Coach. That year, he led the youth team into the Pan-Am Junior Championships in Montreal, Canada, where the team, playing up an age level, brought home gold. For his efforts, he was named the 2006 USOC National Water Polo Coach of the Year. Most recently, in 2008 and 2009, Clapper was named the head coach of the New Zealand Women's National Team and led the team at the FINA World Championships in 2009.
Clapper came to the Valley of the Sun with a wealth of coaching experience. Following his graduation from Slippery Rock University in 1997, he stayed on with his alma mater and served as an assistant coach for the women's team for one season. From there, he took on assistant coaching duties at Villanova for one year.
His first head coaching position came one year later when he took over the reigns of the Wissahickon High School boys and girl's programs in Ambler, Pa. In his one season with the girl's team, he helped them attain their highest state finish as the team placed third in the Pennsylvania meet.
Following the girl's season at WHS, Clapper took over at Brown University were he also mentored a pair of teams as the head coach for both the men's and women's water polo squads from 1998-2004. Under Clapper, the women earned a berth into the inaugural NCAA Championship event in 2001 while also climbing as high as No. 12 in the nation.
For his efforts at Brown, he earned several coach of the year awards, including New England (2000), Eastern Championship (2001 and 2003), Northern Division (2002) and Northeastern (2004). He closed out his tenure with the Bears' women's program with a record of 105-73 while seeing his team post 18 or more wins in each of his last four season, including 22 victories in 2001 and 20 in 2002.
His teams also fared well in the championship seasons as his team won the Eastern title in 2001 and the Northeastern division in 2004. The Bears also took runner-up honors at the ECAC Championships three times, the Northern Championships twice and the Eastern Championships once.
He served as the head coach for a pair of teams in Las Vegas, including the City of Las Vegas Masters team and the Southern Nevada United (age group) team. He was instrumental in building the two programs as the masters team saw an increase from 10 to 25 members while the age group team was built from the ground up, now totaling nearly 30 members.
Clapper was a four-year letter winner for The Rock, helping the team attain a Top 15 national ranking. As the starting goalie, he captained the team as a senior in 1996, the same year he also was selected second-team all-conference. A walk-on that became the starter in goal by the end of his sophomore season, he graduated Cum Laude with a BS in Exercise Science (aquatic emphasis) and also attained a minor in Adapted Physical Activity and Rehabilitation.
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