Kyle Kim-E coaches the Northwood water polo team he starred on.

Former Northwood player describes his approach to coaching

by Tim Burt

Kyle Kim-E was a standout water polo player at Northwood High School, earning all-league and all-CIF honors. He went on to play at Vanguard University and Chapman University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree. Kim-E returned to his alma mater and is in his fourth season as head coach of the Northwood boys and girls water polo teams. The boys squad is in the top 10 of its division and is hoping to battle for the Pacific Coast League title.

What was your playing career like at Northwood?

I lived in Connecticut up until 2006. I had just moved to Irvine and jumped right into playing. I made all-league my junior and senior years and made all-CIF third team my senior year. We went to the CIF Division 1 finals my freshman year, and unfortunately lost to El Toro; we did win the Masters Tournament that year. We ended up beating El Toro for the league championship. My sophomore year we again won a league championship but lost in the CIF finals to Newport Harbor.

How has it been coaching at your alma mater?

When I was first hired it was exciting but also a little bit worrisome because I had only coached the Irvine Swim League for the Park Paseo Northstars previously. I hadn’t really been a head coach. On top of that, when I got hired for the boys program, I was also asked to coach the girls program. My first year was a challenge.

In my second year, the boys team made the Division 4 semifinals and we were consistently the No. 1 team in the division. Last year, we moved to Division 3, and we were consistently in the top 10 rankings.

What does your coaching philosophy include?

Composure. I stress to the kids, try to stay composed both emotionally and physically and control what we can control. And competitiveness. Try to be competitive in league and in CIF playoffs and in CIF games no matter who we play.

Have a sports item for Tim Burt’s column? Please send it to: info@IrvineStandard.com.