The pressure to win for any high school coach is high. But in a sport where the team has won eight state titles in 17 years, that pressure becomes measured like G-forces.
Mike Goldstein stepped down after two seasons as the Mercer Island High School girls water polo head coach at the end of May.
“I don’t think the program has done very well under my leadership,” said Goldstein. “The numbers (of players in the program) have gone down and I don’t feel like I am doing a good job. It is really different coaching on Mercer Island. You are expected to win a state title each year. There are high expectations, which is fun to be around and a lot of people were good to me in the three years I was there. ”
Goldstein said that the sport itself is changing.
“With all the club stuff it is becoming more about managing the team than teaching,” said Goldstein.
The former Newport High School water polo player also sighted the need to spend more time building his window washing business.
“I have been running it for five years and I have been coaching that entire time,” said Goldstein. “I just want to concentrate on it for a while.”
Goldstein guided the Islanders to the state title in 2006 and lost during the state finals this season to Newport.
“Mike did a fine job and he worked as hard as anyone,” said Jeff Lowell, Mercer Island High School dean of athletics..
Lowell, who coached the team for close to a decade, brought Goldstein on in 2005 as an assistant. When Lowell resigned to take his current position, Goldstein moved into the head coaching vacancy.
“Mike always wanted to learn and get better,” said Lowell.
Lowell said that the athletic department has begun a search for a new coach to find the best possible person. One name that is bound to come up is that of Lauren Ayers, who played on the team and is a Mercer Island High School graduate. Ayers is also the Mercer Island High School boys water polo team’s head coach, which plays during the fall and was an assistant to Goldstein this past spring season. Ayers could not be reached for comment.