Head coach Jeff Ehrlich enters his 11th season at the helm of the water polo program at the Academy. He came to Air Force in 1999 after a 25-year stay at Villa Park High School in Orange County, Calif.
In his first 10 years at Air Force, Ehrlich has led the team to a combined 147-143 record and a top-20 finish in the nation in nine seasons, including a highest final ranking of 13th. In 2008, the Falcons compiled a 17-15 overall record and ended the season ranked 20th in the national polls. In addition, Ehrlich holds a 107-68 conference record, placing in the top four in six of the last 10 years.
Under Ehrlich's tutelage, the Falcons have had 19 different players earn national All-Academic honors a total of 35 times, while 19 players have combined for 29 All-WWPA selections. In addition, six players--Casey Wood, Charlie Toth, Chris Smith, Scott Butler, Murphey Morgan and Clark Condict--have distinguished themselves as NCAA All-Americans. Condict, a third-team All-American in 2008, became just the third third-team selection in Air Force history and the first since 1996. Two other athletes, Toth and Kyle Schafer, were both recipients of the NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship, while Schafer was named a CoSIDA/ESPN the Magazine Academic All-American in 2007.
Over the past 10 years, Ehrlich's goals at Air Force have been: to help 100 percent of the water polo athletes graduate from the Academy, to continue adding national All-Academic selections, to battle for the conference championship and qualify for the NCAA championships, to establish one volunteer project for the team to accomplish in Colorado Springs and to help the Academy develop Air Force officers with a vision for tomorrow.
During his tenure at Villa Park, Ehrlich posted some impressive numbers. He owned a 484-171 record, winning nine league championships and 25-straight city championships. His teams qualified for the California Interscholastic Federation playoffs 24 years in a row, making it to the finals on five occasions (1980, 1981, 1982, 1989 and 1995). His team captured the CIF title in 1981. Ehrlich received much recognition for his success, as he was named CIF Coach of the Year in 1979, 1981, 1989 and 1995.
Ehrlich has coached 59 All-Americans, including 1988 Olympic silver medalist Doug Kimbell and Olympic athlete Gavin Arroyo, who competed in 1996 and 2000. Now retired from the Olympic team, Arroyo, a former assistant coach for the USA Men's National Team, is married and serves as head water polo coach at Long Beach State. Ashley and Amber Stachowski, two women Ehrlich coached at Capo Valley High School, are former women's national team members. Amber Stachowski was named to the Olympic roster and attended the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece, bringing home the bronze. The women brought back the silver medal from the 2000 Olympics.
Ehrlich has taken all-star teams to Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, West Germany, Australia and New Zealand. The high school team he coached traveled to Hawaii eight times, winning the tournament two of those years. He also coached the Orange Regional Competitive Aquatics team which won the 15-and-younger National Championship in Florida in 1995 and two years later won the 17-and-younger National Championship in El Toro, Calif. His high school swim coaching record is 301-61, with seven boys' league titles and six girls' titles.
Born in Baltimore, Md., Ehrlich spent 12 years in Wisconsin before moving to California, where he graduated from Cal State University, Long Beach, with a bachelor of science degree in business. He and his wife of 36 years, Robin, reside in Monument, Colo. Robin works as an area administrator at CIBER, Inc., and is a second team-mom for all the water polo players. Their daughter, Cori, 27, is a 2004 graduate of the Air Force Academy and flies C-130s at Dyess AFB, Texas. She was married to Ben Bryan, a 2003 graduate of the Academy and B1 pilot, in August 2007. Meanwhile, the Ehrlichs' son, Chris, 29, lives in Newport Beach, Calif., and is a partner with CB Richard Ellis Commercial Real Estate.