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Karlie Carlson

Legendary Servite Aquatics Coach Jim Sprague passed away on May 27th at the age of 85 after serving the Southern California water polo community for over 40 years.

Services will be held June 24 at 11am at Forest Lawn in Cypress and are open to the public.

Sprague coached the “Friar Fish” as they were once called from 1992 to 2008 winning three CIF Championships (1998, 2002, 2005) and 13 league titles in water polo while adding seven league titles in swim. He was also a beloved mathematics teacher for the majority of his tenure at Servite.

A lifetime inductee into the the Servite Hall of Fame, he was also inducted into the USA Water Polo Hall of Fame in 2014.

A press release from the event detailed his storied career stating in part, “Those involved in high school boy’s water polo in Southern California over the last 40 plus years have surely felt the impact of Jim Sprague. Whether they were part of his highly successful teams at Sunny Hills High School, Servite High School, Rosary High School, La Canada High School, and Sonora High School or the opposition of those squads, a universal respect exists for this scholastic coaching legend. Winner of nine CIF Championships, his most famous work was accomplished at Sunny Hills in Fullerton, CA where he was the coach for 25 years and won four of those titles. He built a foundation that allowed the Lancers to capture 24 straight league titles and establish the record for consecutive league victories at 120, which still stands today. He then proceeded to lead Servite to multiple CIF crowns and in recent years has been a development specialist, providing short-term expertise to a variety of programs. A one-time assistant coach at USC and no stranger to the USA Water Polo club circuit, Sprague is considered an innovator in the area of video study within the sport. He pioneered the recording of matches for tactical breakdown and instruction well before his peers, something that is widely practiced today.”

Sprague is survived by his children Todd, Tim, Dan and Jennifer, seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. His wife, Dee, passed away in 2006.


  • Athletics
  • Swimming
  • Water Polo