Wolf Wigo is an American water polo player and coach. He has played competitive water polo at the national level since age 13, was a four-year All-America collegiate player and led his Stanford University team to two NCAA Championships. A member of the U.S. National Team since 1993, Wigo competed in the Olympic Games in 1996, 2000 and 2004, was leading team scorer in the 2000 Sydney games and team captain from 2001-2004. Since 2005, he has been the head coach of the UC Santa Barbara men's water polo program. And in 2008 he also began coaching the UCSB women's team as well.
Wigo's parents were both swimmers so at an early age he and his sister would travel to the pool at the West Side Y in New York City and compete with the Gotham Aqua Kings. After success in swimming (he was named “Swimmer of the Decade” at New York’s Bronx High School of Science), Wigo took up water polo because he enjoyed the team spirit and competition. He played on the St. Francis College Youth Water Polo Club in Brooklyn Heights, New York. By age 13, he was the youngest player on the New York Athletic Club team, earned back-to-back NYAC Utzinger Awards, and was a Prep All-American three years in a row. While still in high school, Wigo was a member of the only 17-and-under team from outside California to win the national Junior Olympics in water polo.
Wigo's college career was plagued by chronic back pain (degenerative discs) and he missed substantial parts of his sophomore and junior seasons at Stanford due to back problems, but still managed to earn All-America honors both years. Wolf Wigo scored 203 goals from 1991–94 and helped lead the Cardinal to two NCAA championships during his junior and senior seasons. He remains one of only 9 athletes in Stanford’s history to be named All America all four years. In 1995, along with swimmer Jenny Thompson, Wolf was named outstanding senior athlete. Wigo is a 1996 graduate of Stanford with a BA in Political Science.
Wigo was chosen for the United States National Water Polo team in 1993. In 1996, he became the first player from east of the Rockies to make the US Olympic team in water polo since 1956. Wigo competed in the Olympic Games in 1996, 2000 and 2004, and was team captain from 2001 to 2004. In 2000 at Sydney, Australia, he was the team's leading scorer with 16 goals. Wigo helped the U.S. Men's National Team win the 1997 FINA World Water Polo Championship. Between the 2000 and the 2004 Olympics Wolf was a star on the Ethnikos Piraeus team in Athens, Greece. Wigo is still active in USA Water Polo's Premier League, playing for the New York Athletic Club team. He netted 3 goals in the 2006 final game, notching a second consecutive Premier League championship for the NYAC.
Other distinctions include:
Top US scorer at 1995 (22 goals in 8 games) & 1993 World University Games.
Leading overall scorer in 1995 US Olympic festival.
Leading US scorer at 1993 Junior World Championships.Wigo served as an assistant coach at Stanford in 1995,1996, and again later in 2001 when the Cardinal won the NCAA Championship. He was head coach for the Saddleback El Toro Water Polo Club for two years, and became the UC Santa Barbara men's water polo coach in April 2005 and women's water polo coach in May 2008. He is also now the technical director of the Santa Barbara Premier Water Polo Club program. Wigo served as an analyst for NBC Sports coverage of Water polo at the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics.
Awards and honors
Two year winner of Utzinger Award, the prestigious citation from the NYAC.
Named to the Hall of Fame of the New York Athletic Club.
Four-year AWPCA All-American (1991, 1992, 1993, 1994).
1994 NCAA Player of the Year American Water Polo Coaches Association National. Scholar-Athlete.
Stanford University Biff Hoffman Award for the school's top senior male athlete.
Three-time USA Water Polo Male Athlete of the Year, (1999, 2000, and 2003).
First Team All-World by NBC Sports and USA Water Polo (2000).