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Photos © Andrea Sanico



Founder and Head Coach

Jon Burke has been coaching water polo throughout northern California for more than two decades, and in that time, has established himself as one of the most highly successful and widely respected coaches in the sport. Burke moved to the Monterey area in the summer of 2018, following 12 years as the girls head coach at Sacred Heart Prep (2006 - 2018), and founded the MBU Water Polo Foundation, a 501(c)3 USA Water Polo club, which now totals over 200 members. In addition to his role as president and head coach of the MBU Water Polo Foundation, Burke is currently a member of the USA Olympic Development Program national goalkeeper staff, head coach of the Stevenson School girls water polo program, and the head coach of the USA Women’s Maccabi team. 


From 2006 - 2018, Burke experienced unprecedented success, as he led the girls team at Sacred Heart Prep (SHP) to 10 consecutive CIF - Central Coast Section (CCS) championships (CIF record for consecutive water polo championships), 12 consecutive CIF - CCS championship game appearances, and 9 West Catholic Athletic League Championships. During his tenure at SHP, Coach Burke’s teams compiled an impressive 279 - 70 (.800 winning percentage) overall record, including a jaw-dropping 54 - 8 (.871 winning percentage) in post-season playoff appearances. In addition, Coach Burke’s program was the back-to-back CCS Varsity Girls Water Polo Scholastic Championship Team for cumulative team GPA in 2016 & 2017. While at SHP, Coach Burke developed 16 NISCA High School All-Americans (high school water polo’s highest award), 8 CCS MVP’s, 43 All-CCS selections, and 40 All-WCAL selections. Additionally, an impressive 25 young women went onto play at the NCAA level, many to the top programs in the nation. KK Clark (SHP ‘08, UCLA ‘12), a 2016 USA Water Polo Olympic Champion, played for Coach Burke, captaining the 2007 SHP team and leading the Gators to their first of ten section championships. Burke’s individual coaching awards include being honored as the 2017 California High School Girls Water Polo Coach of the Year, the 2017 Northern California High School Girls Water Polo Coach of the Year, and the 2015 CCS Girls Water Polo Honor Coach.


Prior to his appointment at SHP, Coach Burke served for four years (2003 - 2006) as the assistant coach for the NCAA men’s and women’s water polo programs at the UC Davis, where he also played and was the men’s team captain. In his final year as an assistant coach for the women’s team (2006), he helped the team capture their first ever Western Water Polo Association conference championship, providing an automatic bid to the 2006 NCAA Women’s Water Polo National Championships, where they finished 5th nationally.


Burke is a familiar face throughout USA Water Polo, as a club head coach and as an Olympic Development Program (ODP) coach as well. For the past four years he’s been a member of the ODP National Goalkeeper staff, and from 2014 - 2015 was the head coach of the Pacific Zone girls cadet team, a team that captured gold at the 2015 ODP National Championships. In addition, Burke was the head coach of the Central Zone boys cadet team in 2005 & 2006 and the Central Zone boys development team in 2004. Burke was recognized by USA Water Polo as the Central Zone Development Coach of the Year in 2005.


On the club level, Burke has coached for some of the most competitive USAWP club teams in the country including head coaching positions with Stanford Water Polo Club (18-under boys), Stanford Water Polo (18-under girls), Davis Water Polo Club, Alumni Water Polo Club, and Oakland Masters. Additionally, Burke was the head coach and girls program director for the Atherton Aquatics Foundation from 2006 - 2018 and was the founder and head coach of Devil Mountain Water Polo Club (Pleasant Hill, CA) from 2000 - 2003. He has coached in Argentina, Canada, Hungary, and Spain and on the international stage led the USA Men’s Maccabi team to the gold medal at the 2006 Pan American Maccabi Games. 


When not coaching, Burke enjoys spending time enjoying the outdoors with his wife, Debra, and their two children, Kai (5), and Michael (3). 

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