Former Division I assistant Candice Vorbeck has been named head coach of the Pacific women’s water polo program, marking the first time Pacific has had separate men’s and women’s head coaches since 2013. Vorbeck spent last season as an assistant for Cal State Northridge, helping to guide the Matadors to 17 wins, the most in nine seasons.

“We are very pleased to be adding the new position of Head Women’s Water Polo Coach to Pacific Athletics,” said Janet Lucas. “Most importantly, we are excited to have Coach Vorbeck join the program as her coaching and playing experience will bring valued perspective to building the legacy of our women’s water polo team.”

James Graham, who has coached the women’s program since taking the helm in 2013, four years into his tenure as head coach of the men’s program, has been promoted to Director of Water Polo, retaining his role as men’s head coach. During his tenure, Graham had elevated the women’s program to a national level, taking the Tigers to the NCAA Tournament for three consecutive years from 2017 to 2019. He was named Golden Coast Conference Women’s Water Polo Coach of the Year twice (2017, 2019).

“We are incredibly excited to welcome Candice to the Tiger family,” said Graham. “She brings energy and passion for water polo that is contagious. I could immediately tell she had all the qualities of a great head coach and fits perfectly in our culture. I truly believe she will help us take the program to the next level.”

Before her time at CSU Northridge, Vorbeck was an assistant for the McKendree men’s and women’s water polo teams for the 2021-22 season. The men’s program finished 11-9, including a 4-0 record in the Mid-Atlantic Water Polo Conference West Division. The women’s team finished 16-7, including a 4-2 conference mark.

From 2018-21, Vorbeck was an assistant at Pomona-Pitzer for the men’s and women’s teams. The women’s team had two Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference regular-season championships, one SCIAC tournament title and reached the NCAA tournament in 2018 during her time with the team. With Vorbeck’s help, the men’s team captured a regular-season title, a conference tournament championship and a trip to the 2018 NCAA tournament. This accomplishment landed her and the rest of the staff the 2018 SCIAC Coaching Staff of the Year title.

“I am excited and hungry for success. Having the opportunity to represent and lead the Tigers is a huge step in my career as a coach,” said Vorbeck. “My mind and heart are focused on this program’s development and continued success. Athletes, coaches and support staff have committed to a culture of respect, adaptation, and team cohesion. With those beliefs already instilled, we can overcome any obstacles in our path. I can’t wait to get started.”

Vorbeck has coached multiple high school and club teams on the men’s and women’s sides, including a gold medal victory at the 2016 Junior Olympics with the 12-U girls’ team at Huntington Beach Water Polo Club.

Vorbeck attended Eureka and Lafayette high schools in St. Louis. She lettered in water polo and swimming throughout her four years. Among her multiple accolades during high school, she received the Missouri Female Player of the Year honor from 2012-14.

She started her college career at Golden West in Huntington Beach, Calif., for two years before transferring to La Verne. She earned 2016 ACWPC All-Academic Honors in 2016 and was named to the SCIAC Sportsmanship Team in 2017 for the Leopards as a member of the women’s water polo team.

Vorbeck earned a degree in biology from the University of La Verne. She will join the Tigers on July 3. She becomes the sixth head coach in the program’s 28-year history.

1. Susan Ortwein (1996-97) – 2 seasons
2. Vicki Gorman (1998-01) – 4 seasons
3. Ryan Brown (2002-06) – 5 seasons
4. Megan Thomson (2007-12) – 6 seasons
5. James Graham (2013-2023) – 11 seasons
6. Candice Vorbeck (2024-current)

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