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Davis, California

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Men’s water polo team welcomes new assistant coach


Trent Calder, former assistant coach at Brown University, comes to West Coast as new assistant coach for UC Davis

The UC Davis men’s water polo team is currently enjoying the offseason, and, while the team just ended its season with an undefeated conference record, 23 wins on the year, a WWPA Championship (the first since 1997) and an NCAA berth, changes are being made to the coaching staff.

Trent Calder, a 2008 All-American at the University of California, Berkeley and a former assistant coach at Brown University, is now the top aide to UC Davis head coach Daniel Leyson. Calder is replacing former assistant coach Kevin Peat, who spent the last five years on the coaching staff.

At Cal, Calder won championships in 2006 and 2007 and was captain of the team for his final two collegiate seasons. He scored 33 goals and had a team-best 34 field blocks in those two years. In 2009, he played for the USA Senior National Team in Belgrade, Serbia.

Calder served as the director of operations, recruiting coordinator and assistant coach at Brown. During his tenure at Brown, the team won its first Eastern Conference championship in 30 years in 2014. In 2015, Brown won the Ivy League title and went undefeated in league play for the first time in the program’s history. After the 2016 season ended, the program had a 22-8 record and the Northern Water Polo Conference title.

The California Aggie had the chance to sit down with Calder to talk about the Aggies’ upcoming season and what he plans to bring to the program as a whole.


Why did you choose to come back to the West Coast and specifically to UC Davis? What drew you to this team?

There are a couple of reasons. First, the West Coast is close to home; I grew up here and my wife’s family is here. On top of that, there are a few coaches who I have watched and wanted to mold my game after, and Dan [Leyson] has been on my list for a while. I knew there was a lot I could learn from him and it was too good to pass up. There are a lot of good things happening here, and I knew I could help take this program to the next level.


Can you clarify what your role will be as the assistant coach/top aide to head coach Leyson?

Basically my role at this point is that I am a chameleon. Anything that he needs, I am gonna be the guy who steps up and does that. I want to be able to be head coach some day, so anything I can do as an assistant to help get myself and this team better is something I want to be part of.


What do you feel the team needs to work on for the upcoming season, and how is the team going to accomplish making these changes?

Consistency. Everything we are going to do is all about consistency. If we play our games the way we should, and, as a coaching staff, hold the players to a high standard, we are going to be a good team, and that’s all you can hope for.


What is the ultimate goal after this season and maybe a few years down the line? What is the big goal for this team and this program?

A national championship. This team is very talented, and if we bring in a few more recruits, have that senior leadership present and we don’t lose the games we should be winning,  confidence gets high. If we continue to work hard there is no reason we can’t make that jump [to the next level] and turn some heads.




Head coach Daniel Leyson weighed in on his new assistant coach.


Why did you choose to bring Trent into the program as an assistant coach?

It was a mutual thing. I was in need of a person, heard Trent was interested and thought he would be outstanding for the position. He has a high level of experience as a player and a coach and to bring in someone who is so successful as a player is something that is really valuable and brings a standard of excellence to the team.


What was the overall reaction of the team when they were told that Trent was coming on board?

Overwhelmingly positive response. Many of these guys know Trent. He has a great reputation in the water polo community, so it was a very positive response.


With the new addition of Trent, do the goals for the team moving forward change at all?

Our goals remain the same every year. We want to be in that conference championship game, be ranked top-10 and have a team G.P.A. above 3.0, so those goals have not changed. We want to be champions of the conference next year, and Trent is really going to help us with that.
Written by: Ryan Bugsch — sports@theaggie.org


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