USC water polo coach indicted in nationwide college admissions bribery scam

Water polo coach Jovan Vavic led the Trojan men's and women's teams to 16 combined national titles.

USC's legendary water polo coach Jovan Vavic was fired by the university after he was indicted in federal court Tuesday as part of a nationwide college admissions bribery case.

Vavic led the Trojan men's and women's team to a combined 16 national championships and is a 15-time national coach of the year. Vavic won 10 titles with the men's team and six titles with the women's team. He has won the most team titles of any USC head coach in the history of the school.

Vavic was with the USC women's program since its inception in 1995, and has led both teams to national championships three times in the same school year (1998-99, 2003-04, 2009-04). He earned his 16th national title this fall with the men's team, and before his termination coached the No. 1 women's team to a 35 game win streak.

Three of Vavic's four children have also played on the Trojans water polo team. Vavic's son, Marko, is in his sophomore season with the men's team. In his freshman season, Marko led the team with 51 goals as a driver. Vavic's older son, Nikola, ranks No. 1 in career goals for the Trojans with 254 goals from 2010-2013. Vavic's daughter, Monica, won the 2013 MPSF player of the year award while playing for USC. All three children have won national titles with their father.

According to a USC interview with Vavic, his desire to coach water polo began when he moved from Montenegro to the United States in 1984. Vavic succeeded at the high-school coaching level before getting to the college level as an assistant coach with UCLA’s water polo team in 1990.

Per USC Athletics, Vavic was hired in 1992 as an assistant to the men's team. Three years later in 1995, Vavic became co-head coach along with John Williams. Four years later, he became the men's head coach. He would win his first national title as head coach of the men's team in 2003. From 2008 until 2013, his men's team won six-straight NCAA national championships. Between 2014 through 2017, USC finished second in the NCAA finals before capturing Vavic's final national championship in 2018.

The No. 1-ranked USC women's team was in Hawaii training before a Saturday matchup against No. 5-ranked Hawaii when Vavic was indicted. The team still has five games left in its season before the start of the MPSF championship and NCAA tournament.

Vavic has since been replaced by interim coaches Casey Moon and Marko Pintaric. Moon will head the women's team through the end of their season. He has previously served as the men's director of player personnel. Pintaric will oversee the men's team and has previously served as the co-head coach of the team and scouting director for the women's team.

Annenberg Media will continue to follow this story closely and will provide up-to-date coverage on the latest news.

Additional Contributors: Michael Loy and Johnny Flores