Assistant water polo coach gives the Sun Devils an edge on their journey toward success

With his unique skill set and direct personality, Marty Matthies brings confidence to an already top-notch coaching staff

ASU women's water polo assistant coach Marty Matthies is more than a leader to the program — to the women of Sun Devil water polo, he’s one of their many keys to success.

In July 2016, Matthies was named the program's newest assistant coach. Matthies was fresh off a 15-11 record during his first season at California State University, Northridge and finished second in the Big West Conference standings. He was able to lead the Matadors to seventh in the nation during his first year at the program.

Matthies has put up an impressive resume over his coaching career. Prior to the Matadors, Matthies served as the assistant coach for both the men’s and women’s water polo teams at Loyola Marymount and coached six CWPA All-Americans.

One thing that drew head coach Todd Clapper to Matthies was his passion for the sport.

“He’s a very smart and enthusiastic coach, those are two of his best qualities,” Clapper said. “He really understands the technical aspects of the game and how to teach those things.”

Matthies is constantly teaching the women something new and exciting, Clapper said. His ability to teach those individual skills is what makes him a great coach to have.

“Every day he’s coming with enthusiasm and energy to get everybody better,” Clapper said. “That’s really important as well.”

The liveliness that Matthies shows in practice and in games hasn’t gone unnoticed by the athletes.

“I think he’s really helpful in practice because he gets in the water with us a lot,” junior goalkeeper Mia Rycraw said. “He's really energetic and he has a lot of strength, energy and knowledge that he brings from his experience playing water polo.”

Rycraw noted that Matthies' past accomplishments helps make the team feel confident.

“He won the National Championship when he played at Cal,” Rycraw said. “So for him to get in the water and help us is great.”

During his athletic career at Cal, the former Bear captain and top defensive player not only won the 2006 NCAA Division I National Championship, but was also named All-American three times. On top of that, Matthies also competed for the USA Water Polo National team from 2002-2005 and 2009- 2010.

During practice, going up against Matthies — who was considered one of the best players in his position — gives the Sun Devils an edge.

“A lot of the girls that shoot on us throughout the season don’t take shots as hard as he does," Rycraw said. “So taking shots from him or trying to defend him just really helps us elevate our game.”

Rycraw said that this gives the team an extra boost of confidence when facing tough competition.

“If we can go against him, we can go against anybody.” Rycraw said.

Senior attacker Stephanie Contreras reiterated her teammate’s positive comments, noting that it is Matthies’ personality of being upfront and honest that makes him an essential part of the Sun Devil program.

“He’s not the type of person that puts you down the entire time,” Contreras said. “He tells you the good things you’ve done as well. He’ll tell me, that’s a good shot, that’s your strength.”

Being a veteran on the team, Matthies isn’t the first assistant coach that Contreras has seen in the program. While it was difficult to adjust to a new coaching style, Matthies brought an integral part of the team’s success.

“It’s definitely hard in the beginning when you're constantly getting new assistant coaches and you're trying to see how you are with each other,” Contreras said.

Sometimes, his comments can be negative, but Contreras said it only helps her.

“He’s constantly telling me ‘Steph use your legs! Use your legs!”, so now it’s in my head,” Contreras said. “I gotta use my legs because if Marty finds out I’m not using my legs it’s a bad thing, but it really helps a lot.”

With his unique skill set and direct personality, Matthies is an addition to ASU's top notch coaching staff. His success in the water and ability to give the women an edge is what makes Matthies an integral role in the Sun Devil water polo family.

Matthies and the rest of the No. 4 ASU water polo team will face off against No. 3 UCLA on Saturday at the Mona Plummer Aquatic Center in Tempe at 1 p.m.

Reach the reporter at or follow @KellyB1459 on Twitter.

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