Coaches

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Luis Nicolao

Luis Nicolao began coaching the Navy AC Water Polo club in 2018 after he became the Naval Academy Men’s Head Water Polo coach.  He was named 2018 MAWPC – East Region Coach of the Year. 

Before coming to Navy, he was the men’s and women’s head water polo coach for 20 years at Princeton University.  While at Princeton, Luis was named the 2004 Association of Collegiate Water Polo Coaches Men's National Coach of the Year, won five Eastern Coach of the Year awards split between the men and the women and has garnered Southern Coach of the Year honors on seven occasions.

He directed the Princeton men and women to a combined eighteen Southern titles, eight Eastern crowns and made seven NCAA Tournament appearances. Collectively, Luis coached 29 Princeton student-athletes to a combined 65 All-America accolades with 15 men's team members collecting 34 All-America honors and 14 women tallying 31 All-America distinctions.

During his first season at Navy he lead them to an overall record of 15-14 the first winning record since 2015.

Coach Luis attended the Naval Academy (Class of ‘92) and graduated as the all-time leading scorer in Academy history as well as being the captain during the 1991 season. He was a three-time All-American and All-East selection and earned the Naval Academy Athletic Association’s Sword for Men as the top graduating male athlete during his time at the Naval Academy.

He was also a member of the U.S. National Team that won the gold medal at the World University Games. He also served as the U.S. men's national "B" team assistant coach.

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Tom Popp

Tom Popp began coaching the Navy AC Water Polo club in July 2018 when he returned as the Assistant Coach at the Naval Academy for the Men’s Water Polo team alongside his classmate and teammate, Luis Nicolao.   Coach Tom had served as an assistant coach for Navy from 2007-09, helping the Midshipmen to a pair of CWPA Eastern titles (2007, ‘08) and a 72-26 record during his three years as a member of the coaching staff.

During his first returning season at Navy (2018), he assisted the midshipmen to an overall record of 15-14, the first winning record since 2015.

Before his return to Navy, he coached the Varsity Boys Water Polo team at Gonzaga College High School in Washington D.C.   He coached the varsity team for five seasons. In November 2016, Popp led Gonzaga to an Eastern Prep Championship.

Coach Tom attended the Naval Academy (Class of ‘89) and graduated as the all-time leader in career assists in Academy history. He helped lead Navy to three Eastern Division Championships (1986, ’87, ‘88) and three NCAA tournament appearances. A two-time MVP of the Eastern Division (1987, ‘88), he also earned All-American Honorable Mention in 1987 and third-team All-American honors in 1988.   He was awarded the Naval Academy Athletic Association’s Sword for Men as the top graduating male athlete during his time at the Naval Academy.

Coach Tom also played on the U.S. Men's Junior National Team (1985-87) and the 19 and Under World Championships in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Following his senior NCAA season, he trained with the U.S. Men's National Team from 1989 through April 1991.

He was inducted into the CWPA Hall of Fame on November 2008, becoming the first Navy representative to be inducted into the CWPA Hall of Fame.

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Ken Vincent

Ken Vincent joined the water polo staff as an assistant coach in August of 2020.

Prior to joining the Navy water polo coaching staff, Vincent coached and played club water polo in the greater Washington, D.C. area, as well as in Pennsylvania for over three decades. He coached high school and club water polo teams, as well as swimming teams. In addition, Vincent served as a NCAA water polo referee from 2013 to 2019.

In 2011, Vincent founded the Buxmont Water Polo Club which has become the leading high school water polo club in Pennsylvania. Vincent became a regular visitor to the U.S. Naval Academy, supporting club water polo and coaching at summer water polo camps.

A graduate of Lehigh University, Vincent played for the Mountain Hawk water polo team in the Middle Atlantic Conference from 1976 to 1979. After graduating from Lehigh in 1980 with a bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering, he was commissioned in the U.S. Air Force and served on active duty for four years assigned to the Air Force Systems Command, Air Force Military Airlift Command, and the Pacific Air Force. Vincent retired from civilian federal government service, but continues to support federal agencies as a contracted employee.

Vincent is married to the former Kerri Baker, and the couple have a daughter, Katie, and a son, Ryan. Vincent and his wife reside in Annapolis. Their daughter Katie resides in Fort Worth, Texas where she is a firefighter, while son Ryan resides in Boston, Mass. where he is a physicist.

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Peter Sabbatini

Peter Sabbatini returns to Annapolis, MD to assist coaching his alma mater club water polo program.  As a four year varsity letter winner at Princeton University and under the head coach leadership of Luis Nicolao, Peter was a member of the water polo program that helped solidify Princeton as an East Coast powerhouse and helped lead the team to its second NCAA Final Four Tournament appearance in 2004.  Over the course of his collegiate career as Princeton’s goalie, Peter garnered multiple accolades: ECAC Championship Most Valuable Player (2003), CWPA Southern Player of the Year (2003), First-Team All Southern (2003, 2004), Second-Team All Southern (2002), CWPA Eastern Most Valuable Player (2004), First-Team All-Eastern Tournament Team (2003, 2004), Second-Team All-NCAA Tournament Team (2004), and All-America (Third-Team, 2003; Second-Team, 2004).  Outside of Princeton water polo, Peter was a member of the National Youth Team (2001), National Junior Team (2000, 2003) and trained with the National A Team (April 2006 to December 2007), which provided him with the opportunities of training at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, CO (1998, 2006), training internationally (Canada, Venezuela, Romania, Yugoslavia, Greece and Italy) and competing in international tournaments such as NORAMS (1999), Junior Pan-American Championships (2000, earning Co-MVP Tournament Goalie), and the Junior World Championships (2003). Peter is excited about returning and giving back to the program that provided him the opportunities to develop his talents and to gain his athletic experiences and success.

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Cole Lindner

Cole Lindner started swimming competitively at the age of six for club teams in the Maryland area. He transitioned into playing water polo in high school were he played for four years at Loyola Blakefield. He won 2 MIAA varsity championships while at Loyola Blakefield. He played club water polo while in college and also coached a college water polo class. Currently, Cole works for a Cyber Security Company as a commercial territory manager for the Southeast.

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Bobby Wall

Bobby Wall started playing water polo in San Francisco, CA for Saint Ignatius College Prep, where he was selected twice to the all West Coast Athletic League team. He played for the Olympic Development Program Pacific Zone team throughout high school in addition to club water polo with Stanford Water Polo Club. At Stanford, Bobby competed in Junior Olympics, winning the Platinum Division gold with the 18U A team. Bobby went back to Stanford to coach a 16U team in Junior Olympics in the summer after his freshmen year of college.

Bobby went on to play Division I water polo at the United States Naval Academy where he lettered four times. At Navy, he served as the First Regimental Commander during his senior year. He commissioned as an ensign in the United States Navy in May 2021, graduating with a Bachelors of Science in Cyber Operations.

Bobby has been coaching with NAAC since June 2021, in addition to serving as an officer representative for USNA’s water polo team in the Fall 2021 season.

Bobby will be moving to San Diego to continue his naval career training pipeline in Coronado, CA.