Lake Oswego Water Polo coach Aukai Ferguson wins national honor
People across the country now know something that people in Lake Oswego and Oregon have known for a very long time — water polo coach Aukai Ferguson is very, very good at his job.
Ferguson, the Youth Development Coach for Lake Oswego Water Polo, was selected in March as one of 50 National Winners of Positive Coaching Alliance's 2018 Double-Goal Coach Award. As a national winner, Ferguson will be recognized at PCA's National Youth Sports Awards & Benefit at Maples Pavilion on Stanford University's campus on April 28.
Foremost among Ferguson's many accomplishments in water polo is this — in a span of three years at LOWPO, he has built a youth program from a small handful of athletes into a budding club with nearly 90 athletes from age 8 to 14.
Beyond just his success in recruiting more young athletes to water polo, however, Ferguson was honored for the consistently positive and encouraging nature he employs in his coaching.
The following comes from the nomination application that was filled out for the PCA honor.
"Aukai only teaches and encourages good sportsmanship. If players aren't acting appropriately, he calls them out or makes them take a break. Although he is very vociferous on the sidelines as he encourages his athletes, I have never seen him confront a referee, even when very questionable calls are made. His teams always shake hands with other players and coaches, regardless of game outcomes."
Informed of his win — he was one of 50 winners selected from among 800 applications submitted — Ferguson responded via email with typical modesty and good nature.
"WOW! You guys need to write all my letters of recommendation from now on! Thanks for taking the time to nominate me. This is the greatest award I have ever received for coaching and I couldn't be more honored!"
Beyond his positive attitude, Ferguson was also celebrated for tailoring his coaching to each age group he works with, and also for his overall enthusiasm and perspective.
Following is another section from the nomination application.
"Aukai's love of the game is obvious to everyone. He greets the kids individually as they get to the pool with high fives and (a) joke or two. He constantly encourages his athletes when they make good decisions, and when they make poor choices, he lets the outcome … do the talking. He never pulls an athlete out of the game for making a mistake or two. He always lets them play it out and have a chance to recover."
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