August 8, 2014

Bega gives back to Merced County roots with water polo clinic

Former Atwater High and Merced College All-American Johnny Bega teams up to put on a local water polo clinic.

Scott McCall may have found his way into coaching anyway, but a chance encounter on the Long Beach State pool deck nudged the Merced College men’s water polo and swim coach in that direction.

“I was doing my graduate-school stuff at Long Beach and just happened to run into Johnny Bega while passing through the pool area,” McCall said. “We knew each other from Merced College, and he was an assistant coach at Long Beach at the time.

“He asked if I’d be interested in helping him out with his club team. The next year after that I was his assistant coach at Millikan High School (in Long Beach). My coaching career kind of took off from there.”

The pair have kept on contact over the years and after a couple tries, will finally reunite in a joint water polo clinic to be held at MC on Aug. 16 and 17.

Bega, a former Atwater High and MC All-American and recently promoted women’s water polo head coach at San Jose State, will team up with Cal women’s water polo coach Rich Corso to provide instruction. Bega said the two-day camp will emphasize shooting and goalkeeping.

“This is a pretty big opportunity for the kids in this area to learn from coaches with their experience,” McCall said. “They both have done it for a number of years at the high school, national and Division I college levels.

“I’ve had calls from kids that want to attend in the Fresno and Clovis area and as far north as Napa. It’s especially nice because Johnny is a product of Atwater High.”

Bega said the camp has been a long time in the making.

“I have always had thoughts of coming back and bringing a camp to help give back to the local boys and girls and coaches in their water polo game,” Bega said. “I know there is a need for something like this camp in the area, so I asked my good friend Rich Corso (1996 U.S. Olympic coach) to join me. Corso and I run camps all over the nation and look forward to our upcoming camp in Merced.

“We would like to have an annual summer camp gearing up for their fall season every year.”

The camp is open to boys and girls ages 12 to 18 and will run from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. each day. The cost is $175 and local coaches are welcome to attend for free.

Those interested can contact McCall at (209) 769-7496 or

“It’s great having Scott as a person to help organize and team up with again,” Bega said. “The camp will focus on shooting and goalie fundamentals and skills. We really concentrate on the number of different shots, positioning and love of game-time shooting.”

Related content



Sports Videos