Lou Tully, San Jose State women’s water polo coach who helped found team, dies at 70

Sad news from San Jose State on Wednesday night: Women’s water polo coach Lou Tully, the only coach that team has ever known, has died from complications relating to his cancer treatment. He was 70.

He had beaten cancer once before, having been diagnosed with it in 2008 and going into remission in 2009. He had a recurrence recently.

Tully helped found the program in the late 1990s after years coaching at different levels, including founding a club team (San Jose Splash) and a stint at Menlo Junior College in the early going.

Tully was one of several coaches who came back home to San Jose State. He played water polo for the school in the 1960s and got his master’s degree there in 1970. Unlike so many other coaches at San Jose State, he had a winning record — 250 wins, 245 losses in 16 seasons at the helm, and the Spartans were ranked in the top 10 nationally 12 times in his career, including top 5 finishes in 2001 and 2011.

To quote Spartan Athletics obituary: “Since 1999, Spartan water polo players earned 24 All-America awards and 32 Association of Collegiate Water Polo Coaches (ACWPC) All-American Academic awards since 2009.”

His passing comes on the eve of the season on the eve of the season. The Spartans were set to open the season on Jan. 11 at Cal State Monterey Bay. Associate head coach Johnny Bega will likely take over the team.

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