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Kenneth Monfore Nitzkowski


1929 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
Kenneth Monfore Nitzkowski Obituary
September 7, 1929 - July 28, 2016 Kenneth Monfore "Monte" Nitzkowski of Huntington Beach, CA, passed away at his home on July 28th at the age of 86 after a year-long battle with cancer. A memorial service for Monte will be held on September 24, 2016 in Long Beach, CA at a location to be announced. Monte was born in Pasadena, CA on September 7, 1929 to parents Victor and Millicent Nitzkowski. Growing up in and around the water, he naturally gravitated towards competitive swimming and water polo. Attending Fullerton Junior College and transferring to UCLA in 1950, Monte earned All-Coast honors in water polo and All-American honors in swimming. After training in the Navy post-graduation, Monte entered the Olympic Trials and went on to represent the United States on the 1952 Helsinki Olympic team, swimming the 200 butterfly. Monte knew that he wanted the Olympic movement to remain at the center of his life, a goal which he achieved as a long-time U.S. national team coach. Earning a Master's Degree in history and teaching at CSU Long Beach, Monte transferred his teaching knowledge to the game as he led his Long Beach City College teams to 32 conference water polo championships and 12 swim titles from 1954-1989. A truly innovative coach, Monte transformed the game of water polo by applying basketball and soccer concepts to the pool. He also was the mastermind behind a revolutionary counter-attack strategy that sparked international envy, catapulting the U.S. national teams to relevance in the European dominated world of water polo. Monte was the assistant coach for the 1968 Mexico City Olympic team. He served as head coach for the 1972, 1980 and 1984 Olympic teams, winning a bronze medal in Munich in 1972 and a silver medal in Los Angeles in 1984. His gold medal favored 1980 squad was devastatingly denied the opportunity to compete in Moscow because of the U.S. led boycott of the 1980 Games. Having been elected to the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1991, the UCLA Athletic Hall of Fame in 2006, the National Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame in 2016 and the Aquatic Capital of America Hall of Fame in 2016, Monte shines as the namesake of the sport's most prestigious coaching award, "The Monte Nitzkowski Elite Coaching Award for Water Polo." Monte's influence also extends beyond the athletic community. His fierce loyalty, hilarious sense of humor, hunger for travel, dedication to his family and friends, role as the longtime owner of Vic's Restaurant in Huntington Beach, experience as the author of Water Polo: Learning and Teaching the Basics, and passion for teaching the next generation of young men and women are the qualities that truly distinguish Monte. In his spare time he could be found spending his summers in coastal Maine, playing the ukulele, and spending time with his grandchildren. He is survived by his beloved wife Barbara Nitzkowski, his 6 sons, Jim, Greg, and Brett Nitzkowski, and Kevin, Kent, and Rick Scott, as well as his 8 grandchildren Ry, Zashya, Nate, and Ariel Nitzkowski, and Rickie, Caleb, Summer, and Reese Scott. He was preceded in death by his son Jeff Scott. Monte will be dearly missed.
Published in the Los Angeles Times from Aug. 4 to Aug. 5, 2016
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