Water polo coach to step away, leaving the program in question
Quinn Fairley has left the program after 26 years, and the impact puts the future of the team in jeopardy
McMaster University has had another coach step down with Quinn Fairley, the longtime water polo coach, deciding to hang his cap after 26 years with the team. He had been the head coach of the program since 1999 and continued to manage both the men’s and women's teams all the way through to this season.
Fairley, largely credited for the early success of the program, led the women’s team to five consecutive seasons with a perfect record between 2001 and 2005, winning four Ontario University Athletics titles in that time. He also maintained a consistently competitive team on the men’s side who took home a provincial title in 2001 as well.
Through his time at McMaster, the highly decorated coach won coach of the year for the men’s team six times, and for the women’s team three times. His most recent achievement came in the form of a bronze medal with the women’s team this season.
“Fairley was such a great coach this past season. He led us to our [National Collegiate Water Polo] bronze medal. He taught us a lot in practices, and we made a lot of noticeable improvements throughout the season thanks to him,” said Rachel Dalgleish, a member of the women's water polo team.
Not only has McMaster lost a great coach, but the spare spot has significantly strained the teams' practices. Without a coach, they don’t have anyone who can run their off-season practices.
As if finding a coach to replace such a cornerstone in the program isn’t pressure enough, if the team is unable to find a new coach come next season, there won’t be anyone to register the team for tournaments and contact other schools for scheduled games. The future of the team is in jeopardy.
“Water polo is one of those sports where the coach does so much for the team, as it is a program that needs to organize itself to run. Without that voice, it would be difficult to work together as players and figure it out on our own, if that is even allowed,” explained Dalgleish.
The water polo team’s problems don’t end there either; throughout the season, the university pool was often out of order due to uneven pH levels.
“There were often times where we would get a text right before our practices that the pH in the pool is too high or low and that the practice was cancelled. This affected us quite a lot since we only had three practices a week. This would in turn leave us with only one to two nights in a pool for the week, which is frustrating,” said Dalgleish.
Overall, the current situation with the water polo teams doesn’t seem bright. With no coach and consistent pool issues, the very talented teams are left with no choice but to wait for further instructions and updates. It can be a difficult situation to lose such a coach that held such influence, but to pair that with the other pressures the team faces creates a unique circumstance to face, and the future of the program hangs in the balance.