Collegiate Water Polo Association
2015 Paragon Award / Water Polo
Dan Sharadin swam and played water polo all four years of high school and was recruited
by West Virginia University. Dan was led to believe he would be able to swim and play
water polo in some type of program at WVU; unfortunately, this was not the case. Dan was
so disappointed that after a very short time, he left the swim team to focus on developing
West Virginia’s inaugural water polo club! It was made up of mostly ex-swimmers, and Dan
took on the role as the first coach, as well as a player himself, and the club’s first president of the WVU Water Polo
In Dan’s role as President of the WVU Water Polo Club, it was his job to arrange tournaments for the team to play in, so Dan begin to arrange tournaments in Ohio, Pennsylvania and the West Virginia areas, as well as planning trips to Montreal and Quebec. He was always looking for ways to promote the club, fundraise or find new tournaments and clubs to play.
After getting his Master’s degree from WVU in 1981, Dan founded the non-profit organization, Young Athletes of America (YAA) to give the less athletically gifted athletes an opportunity to play organized sports. One of the programs created through YAA was the Eastern Water Polo League (EWPL), a large multi-division structure that included teams from all over the eastern seaboard. Its success led coaches to question whether a similar structure would work within the collegiate ranks. Sharadin was asked if he would serve as part-time Commissioner of a small group of college teams known then as the Mid-Atlantic Conference, for the purpose of providing basic services including scheduling and publishing a league program.
He began his duties with the CWPA in the 1980’s, which seems like a lifetime ago. Since that time, many changes have taken place, including the merger of the New England and Southern conferences in the early 90’s, the addition of women’s water polo in the mid-90’s, and the merger of the Southeast Collegiate Club Conference in 2000. During a portion of this period Dan worked with United States Water Polo for the purposes of collegiate development and was able to see programs added for men and women throughout the country.
Since its inception, the CWPA has grown in size to become the largest water polo conference and the third largest collegiate athletic organization in the country. Today over 80% of all collegiate contests are played under the auspices of the CWPA. When Sharadin began at the CWPA , he was a part time employee; he now oversees a staff of five full time employees and an organizational budget of nearly half a million dollars. Thanks to Dan Sharadin, the Collegiate Water Polo Association has come a long way!
Recipients of the