Water polo coach Dante Dettamanti dies in cycling accident
Retired Stanford University water polo coach Dante Dettamanti, who also coached at Menlo-Atherton High School and Sacred Heart Prep, was killed while bicycling on Cañada Road this past Tuesday. According to the California Highway Patrol, Dettamanti crashed into a County Public Works Department street sweeper about a mile south of Highway 92. He was 80 years old.
In his 25 years at Stanford (1977-2001), Dettamanti led the Cardinal to eight NCAA championships, advancing to the NCAA title game 14 times. One of five head coaches in Stanford Athletics history to capture at least eight national titles, Dettamanti became only the second collegiate coach in NCAA history to record over 600 career wins and the only collegiate coach to win NCAA championships in four different decades.
Named national coach of the year six times and league coach of the year on 10 occasions, Dettamanti also had great success on the international stage, coaching the USA World University Games teams to gold and silver medals in 1979 and 1981, the highest finish ever for a USA national team. Over a dozen of his former players went on to achieve success at the Olympics, including Stanford greats Jody Campbell, Wolf Wigo and Tony Azevedo.
Prior to arriving at Stanford, Dettamanti coached at UC Santa Barbara and Occidental College and served as a graduate assistant at UCLA. He earned a degree in engineering from UC Davis and earned his master’s degree in exercise physiology from UCLA after a stint in the US Army.
An impressive athlete in his own right, Dettamanti was one of the original pioneers in the sport of triathlon, placing sixth in the prestigious Hawaii Ironman in 1981.
In retirement, the Woodside resident became interested in winemaking. He told Bob Murphy in 2004: “When I retired from Stanford three years ago, I decided I wanted to become more involved in growing grapes and making wine. I was doing it actually my last eight or nine years at Stanford as a part-time thing just as a hobby. Now I’m into it, and it keeps me busy, keeps me occupied, and I love it. I’m outdoors amongst the trees and beautiful Santa Cruz Mountains.”
Photo of Dante Dettamanti at Menlo-Atherton pool by Linda Hubbard (c) 2011