Entering her 21st season at the helm of San Diego State water polo, Carin Crawford continues on her mission to keep the Aztecs as a top contender in women's collegiate water polo.
Crawford has guided the Scarlet and Black to a top-20 national finish in each of her 20 years, including 17 top-10 finishes. During her tenure, the Aztecs have amassed 44 All-America honors, including for the fifth time, a school-record four in 2016. Her players have garnered 56 all-conference honors, including three of the four times that team has had five players earn the distinction after a season. In addition, her players have earned 80 Association of College Water Polo Coaches (ACWPC) All-Academic Team awards and 86 conference all-academic team awards.
In 2017, Crawford coached the Aztecs to their fourth straight Golden Coast Conference (GCC) regular-season title after posting a 7-0 record in league action, making them 26-0 in GCC games at that point and after the 2020 season, shortened after 18 games due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Crawford’s teams are 39-4 in GCC matchups.
In 2016, SDSU captured its first conference tournament crown, which gave it the league's automatic berth to the NCAA Championship, where it finished in eighth place and ultimately a No. 14 final national ranking. In January 2017, and then once again in 2018, she was named a USA Water Polo Sandy Nitta Distinguished Coaching Award recipient for the Pacific Southwest Zone for 2016 and 2017.
Crawford first guided SDSU into the national spotlight in 2007, as the team earned its first-ever at-large bid to the NCAA Championship. The Aztecs ended up placing fourth at the tournament and finished the campaign with a then-program record 29 victories.
In 2008, Crawford led the Scarlet and Black to a second consecutive NCAA tournament. The Aztecs finished in fifth place to post its second straight top-five effort. For the second year in a row, Crawford's team finished their campaign with a school record for wins with 31. In addition, Crawford earned her 200th career victory with a win over Maryland at the UCSD Triton Invitational.
Prior to water polo becoming an NCAA championship sport in 2001, the Aztecs advanced to the National Collegiate Water Polo Championship in Crawford's first two seasons, finishing fifth (1999) and sixth (2000). A year later, Crawford's Aztec team took second at the postseason National Collegiate Select Tournament.
Crawford's coaching and playing experience has provided the foundation from which she has built the Aztec women's water polo program. Prior to her arrival on Montezuma Mesa, Crawford served as head coach of the San Diego Mesa College women's water polo team from 1996-98 and guided them to a berth in the 1996 SoCal Championships, while coaching two players to All-America honors during her two seasons.
As coach of the Sunset San Diego Girls water polo club, Crawford assisted in building one of the premier club programs in the nation. The Sunset Girls were perennial medalists in every age group at the National Junior Olympics Water Polo Tournament from 1996-98. As a player for the Sunset Senior Women's team, Crawford was a four-time All-American, helping her team win nine Senior National Championship titles.
While a member of the United States National Team from 1989 to 1992, Crawford participated in four U.S. Olympic Festivals, earning two gold medals, a silver and a bronze. Through her participation on the national team, she traveled to Hungary, Holland, Australia and New Zealand, accumulating international playing experience.
During her collegiate career, Crawford was a co-captain for UC San Diego and received All-America honors in 1988 and 1989. She graduated cum laude in 1989 and returned to earn her master's degree in U.S. history in 1992, while also competing on the U.S. National Team.
As a former athlete representative to USA Water Polo, Crawford has worked at the grassroots level to raise the status of women's water polo to an Olympic and NCAA championship sport. Her contributions paid off when women's water polo was included in the 2000 Olympics and was recognized as an NCAA championship sport in 2001.
A native of Albuquerque, N.M., Crawford attended Valley High School. She enjoys surfing, gardening and spending time with her husband, Jack, and two sons, Jackson and Shane. The family resides in San Diego.