Derek Perkins got involved with West High’s water polo program as soon as he arrived at the school last summer .
Perkins, 30, was hired at West as a U.S. history teacher and also teaches Advanced Placement government. He was eager to put his water polo experience, including four years as the boys coach at Heritage High in Brentwood, to use at his new school.
“Since I have a background in water polo coaching, I figured I’d share my knowledge of the game,” he said. “I just helped out in any capacity I could.”
He volunteered as an assistant to boys coach Clay Basepayne and this year took on the head coaching job, working alongside Pat Windschitl, West’s returning girls coach.
Perkins played water polo at Liberty High in Brentwood, graduating in 2002 before heading to Colby Sawyer College in New Hampshire and then Southern Connecticut State University, where he competed as an NCAA Division II swimmer before graduating in 2007.
In the first week of school, Perkins has worked to get the word out about West High water polo, hoping that new and returning players would improve on the team’s 3-14 record from 2013.
“I just put out a lot of information out in the school and invited anyone to come out and give it a try,” he said. “There’s been a definite recruiting process.”
He added that the reorganization of the Tri-City Athletic League — which now includes Tracy High, the traditionally strong programs from Lincoln High and St. Mary’s High of Stockton and also teams from Lodi High and Tokay High of Lodi — puts West in a much tougher league this year.
Perkins said he expected to be competitive and build a strong foundation for future teams.
“The conference I was in (Bay Valley Athletic League) in the North Coast Section was just as strong. We’ll start young and build it.”
Contact Bob Brownne at firstname.lastname@example.org or 830-4227.