Should the Gunn, Menlo-Atherton and Palo Alto boys all qualify for the 2016 Central Coast Section water polo playoffs, history will be made.
Having those three teams in the tournament would mark the first time that three brothers were coaching in the playoffs at the same time.
Former Paly coach Brandon Johnson takes over the boys' water polo program at Menlo-Atherton. Photo by Keith Peters/Palo Alto Online Sports.
"It is probably a first to have three brothers in CCS, especially in D-I of CCS," confirmed Johnson. "It will be fun."
Johnson returns to the local scene where his brothers Matt (at Gunn) and Aaron (at Paly) also coach.
"M-A is a fantastic program and a great opportunity and I am very excited to be able to take over for Gio (Napolitano), who did a great job there," Johnson said. "I'm looking forward to continuing the success and water polo tradition at M-A.
Johnson is currently a Physical Education teacher at Herbert Hoover Middle School in San Francisco. When he took that job last fall, he stepped away from his job as Paly's head coach. Aaron was elevated from assistant to head coach just before the start of the season.
"When I left Paly, I said the commute was going to be too hard and it was a good opportunity for Aaron to take over at Paly, which was the case for this past season," said Johnson. "What changed for me was my teaching schedule next year. I will be getting off earlier than I did this year. This will allow me to be able to make it down the Peninsula in time for practices and games, something I was unable to do this year."
Johnson comes to M-A with a great deal of experience, both coaching and playing water polo at a high level. He was a three-time All-American water polo player at UC Irvine and then played on the U.S. National Team for five years before moving on to play professionally in Australia for three years with brother Matt.
On the coaching side, Brandon has been an assistant coach at UC Irvine, coached for USA Water Polo as the U18 Olympic Development Coach, coached the Paly boys, and currently is a member of the Stanford Water Polo Club staff.
Brandon takes over for Napolitano, who guided the Bears to a 16-11 season in 2015 that ended in a loss to Bellarmine in the CCS Division I semifinals. Coincidently, Napolitano coached the Paly boys before arriving at M-A and having a successful run with the Bears.
--Menlo-Atherton Athletics contributed