Doug Calvin tapped to lead Madras Aquatic Center's water polo team

Photo Credit: JEFF WILSON/ THE PIONEER - Doug Calvin, center, meets some of the team members from the Madras Aquatic Center's water polo team Monday night after being introduced as the team's new coach.Doug Calvin is coming out of retirement, and there is a certain group of water polo players that are happy he is.

Just a week before the fall high school sports season opens for practice, Calvin was named as the new head coach of the Madras Aquatic Center’s water polo team. Practices in all fall sports begin Aug. 18.

Calvin replaces Bobby DeRoest, who stepped down three weeks ago to take a similar position in Portland. DeRoest started the water polo program in Madras and served as its coach for almost five seasons.

“For me, it’s an opportunity to give back to the sport and the community,” Calvin said. “I’ve done this before, maybe not recently, but it’s a chance for me to help out. I’m looking forward to doing that.”

The timing of DeRoest’s decision couldn’t have been worse with the start of a new season just weeks ago, but fortunately for the MAC executive director, Joe McHaney, Calvin was nearby and willing to step in.

After posting the job statewide, McHaney tapped Calvin because of his experience and his ties to the area.

“Doug is more than qualified to take on this position,” McHaney said. “I’m excited to see what he can do with the team.”

Calvin has a deep and rich history in the sport. He began playing in high school and used his talent to make it to the college level, playing for the University of Arizona and Long Beach State.

He continued to stay with water polo after graduating, serving as both a player and a coach in Australia for many years.

While he has been away from the game for brief periods — he last coached a team five years ago — he always finds his way back into it. He has coached teams in Bend and also served as a referee in the area.

And he has been seen at the MAC over the years as a spectator for Madras games. That has allowed him to get to know some of the kids he will end up coaching this season.

Madras senior Sophie Gemelas is one of those players.

“I think he’s going to be a really beneficial coach for our program,” she said. “He has come to some of our games (in the past), so he does have kind of a feel for where we are at, as a program and as individual players.”

Calvin enters a program in transition and there is plenty of work to be done and an extremely short period to do it in. Calvin was introduced as the coach at a meeting Monday night at the MAC, which was his first opportunity to meet many of the players and parents.

The team heads into its first practices with no schedule as of now. But games will fall into place over the next few weeks.

While not an Oregon School Activities Association sponsored sport — water polo is considered a club sport — it uses the same timeline. Games cannot be played until Sept. 4, giving the program time to get a schedule set.

One thing McHaney is hoping to see this year is a growth in the sports locally. Madras fields a coed team because of numbers, but McHaney is hoping that Calvin, through his contacts in the sport and in the region, can help grow it.

Water polo is gaining in popularity with each passing year and Central Oregon has become a hotbed, so to speak. Just last month, 10 Madras players took part in the USA Water Polo National Junior Olympics in California.

The sky is the limit, and Calvin is hoping to take a few steps in that direction.

“For me, I guess it’s like coming out of retirement,” Calvin said. “I’m looking forward to see what we’ve got and where we can go.”

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