“When you play for Coach Stoll, you’ll learn about the game and more,” said Holbrook, who was recently hired to replace Bob Zirovich as the water polo coach of both programs. “He’s been a huge mentor for me.
“With water polo, it’s a difficult sport to coach because the students don’t have exposure to it until high school, unlike basketball or baseball. Going to Glendale will be a great place for me to start.”
It will be the first head-coaching job for Holbrook, who will also teach world history at Glendale. He served as an assistant last season at Pacifica High in Garden Grove.
Holbrook has already met with both water polo teams, outlining short-term goals and what’s to be expected once the respective seasons begin.
Holbrook, who graduated from El Toro in 2002, said it will take some time for the athletes and him to get on the same page.
“I think both of the teams have some good talent, and we will be young,” said Holbrook, who earned a bachelor’s degree in history from UC Irvine in 2007. “I told them that everybody will have to be doing their best, and, to do that, it can lead to a successful year.
“I want to get the teams playing the hardest competition possible. I want to put together a list of tournaments to help us develop more. If you can play those harder teams, then it can help us out with different things we can learn.”
Glendale Principal Deb Rinder said Holbrook proved to be the ideal candidate.
“At Glendale High, we are looking for stability,” Rinder said. “Any time you can find a good teacher who can also coach, that’s like hitting the jackpot.
“We were confident that Forest will fit in this mold, along with other coaches who have been with us for a long time like [tennis and basketball coaches] Bob Davidson and Steve Snodgress.
“What impressed us was that we undergo an intense interview process and we do a thorough background and reference check. He comes from a prestigious and well-known aquatics school. His knowledge of the game and his ability to connect with the kids is a win-win situation for us as it relates to the hiring process.”
Glendale’s boys’ water polo team went 11-15 and 6-2 in the Pacific League for second place last season. The Nitros reached the CIF Southern Section Division VI playoffs, where they opened with a first-round win against Saddleback before falling in the second round to top-seeded Rio Mesa.
The Nitro girls’ water polo team went 1-6 in league last season and didn’t qualify for the playoffs.
The program’s watershed moment came in 2007, when the Nitros advanced to the semifinals for the first time in the program’s history. Zirovich was named the News-Press Coach of the Year in 2007.