|College:||Hartwick College (2002)|
Megan Thomson enters her sixth season as the head coach of the Pacific women’s water polo team in 2012. She became the third coach in the program’s 17-year history on May 5, 2006, and has engineered an impressive rebuilding effort that saw the Tigers claim their first-ever conference title in 2010 and finish with back-to-back 20-win seasons in 2010 and 2011.
Thomson led the Orange and Black to its second consecutive 20-win season in 2011, guiding Pacific to a 21-12 mark and a fifth-place finish at the Big West Tournament. The Tigers ripped off a six-game winning streak early in the year, including a sweep of the Princeton Invitational on February 12 and 13. Pacific also dominated the Lancer Invite, going undefeated in four matches over March 18 and 19. The Tigers ended the regular season winning three consecutive matches, including a 6-5 road win over conference foe UC Davis. The Big West Tournament saw Pacific defeat host UC Santa Barbara 6-4 in its final match of the year. Under Thomson’s tutelage, Dara Tawarahara earned her second All-America selection in as many seasons. Tawarahara was also a First Team All-Big West selection while Mandy King and Michele Relton earned Honorable Mention All-Big West honors. Elise Martin was selected the Big West’s Player of the Week on March 17 after recording 10 goals, seven assists, three steals, and five field blocks in four matches as part of the Aztec Invitational on March 12 and 13. Out of the pool, Tawarahara, Siobhan Larsen, Melissa Loper, Meara McCarthy, and Bethany Quertermous earned Big West All-Academic honors while Kim Kay, Allison King, Michele Relton, and Elise Martin, along with Quertermous, Larsen, Loper, Tawarahara, McCarthy, and Loper, received Association of Collegiate Water Polo Coaches All-Academic recognition. Pacific’s team GPA of 3.48 was tied for the ninth-best team GPA in the nation.
During Pacific’s second season of of Big West membership, Thomson led the Tigers to program milestones in wins (24) and single-season saves (290). Pacific opened the year going 3-2 at the NorCal Invite January 29 through January 31 while the Tigers’ 9-4 win over Colorado State on February 14 ignited a 13-game winning streak that saw Pacific ascend to as high as No. 16 nationally. Under Thomson’s direction, the Tigers secured the top seed at the Big West Tournament after going undefeated in the final weekend of league play. The Orange and Black upset then-No. 10 Cal State Northridge 8-7 in sudden-victory overtime on April 17 before edging UC Santa Barbara 13-9 the following day. Pacific went 1-1 at the conference tournament, defeating UC Santa Barbara 7-5 to claim third place. Thomson coached Tawarahara to her first-ever All-America honor while Brooke Millar, Jasmine Myles, Bridget Geck, and Tawarahara earned All-Big West recognition. Pacific had a trio of Big West All-Academic selections in Courtney Boettger, Catherine Collett, and Quertermous.
As a member of the newly formed Big West Conference in 2009, Thomson coached the Tigers to a 9-25 mark and a 4-3 victory over league foe UC Santa Barbara on March 29. Pacific found itself in numerous close games throughout the year as 17 of its 34 matches were decided by three goals or fewer. Thomson saw Tawarahara earn First Team All-Big West honors at the conclusion of the season, marking the first conference award for a Tiger since the 2007 campaign. Boettger, Collett, and Quertermous, along with Alexandra Kutac and Jessica Safir, were named to the Big West All-Academic Team while Quertermous, Boettger, Safir, and Kutac earned ACWPC All-Academic recognition.
In its last year of Mountain Pacific Sports Federation membership, Pacific’s 2008 campaign saw the Tigers finish the year at 4-27 behind a roster that featured nine underclassmen. The Orange and Black had an impressive 19-2 win over Fresno Pacific on February 17 and were in 12 matches that were decided by three goals or fewer. Earning MPSF All-Academic honors were Kutac, Safir, Kellie Fletcher, and Virginia McConnell. Quertermous, Collett, Safir, Boettger, McCarthy, and Fletcher, along with Scarlett Eisenhauer, Taylor Sutton, Kate Casey, and Jill Hauck, were selected to the ACWPC All-Academic Team.
The 2007 season marked Thomson’s first year on the deck. Inheriting a squad that was victorious in just six of its last 49 matches, Thomson reshaped the Tigers with a young group that featured seven freshmen and only one senior. Pacific finished the year with a 5-25 mark that included back-to-back wins over Occidental and Cal State Monterey Bay on March 3. Thomson coached Sarah Harris to Honorable Mention MPSF and MPSF All-Freshman Team honors. Eisenhauer, Fletcher, McConnell, and Catrina Nishimura were named to the MPSF All-Academic team.
Thomson was brought to Pacific after four successful seasons as an assistant coach at Hartwick College, where she helped lead the Hawks to a pair of appearances in the NCAA Championships. She guided the team to its first-ever NCAA appearance in 2004 before repeating the feat in 2006. In her time as an assistant, Hartwick compiled a record of 112-40 and were Collegiate Water Polo Association Northern Division champions each season. The 2004 group set a school record with 33 wins.
Thomson starred at Hartwick from 2001 to 2002, leading the team to a 47-23 record, two CWPA Northern Division titles, two CWPA New York Region championships, and one Eastern College Athletic Conference title. She led the Hawks to a runner-up finish at the 2002 CWPA Championships, falling to Michigan 7-6 in sudden-victory overtime. Hartwick would have advanced to the NCAA Championships had they emerged victorious. Thomson was named to the ACWPC All-America Team each year and was twice recognized as the CWPA Northern Division Player of the Year. Academically, Thomson earned AWPCA All-Academic honors in both of her seasons with the Hawks. She finished her playing career with 234 points, good for eighth all-time in Hartwick history. Her 182 career goals ranks fifth while her 180 drawn ejections ranks third. Hartwick named Thomson its Female Athlete of the Year in 2001 and 2002. She was inducted into the college’s Athletic Hall of Fame on October 12, 2002.
A native of Wellington, New Zealand, Thomson played for her country at the 2001 FINA World Championships in Japan where she finished among the top 20 goal scorers in the tournament. She was the captain of the New Zealand Development Team in 2000 and played on her country’s Under-20 National Team from 1996 to 1999. Thomson was also the co-captain of New Zealand’s Senior National Team at the Commonwealth Game Championships in Perth, Australia, in January 2006, finishing with a bronze medal. In 2003, she captained the national squad at the Olympic Qualification Series and was a member of the group that competed in the Olympic Qualification Tournament in Italy.
Thomson earned her bachelor’s degree in business in 2002 from Hartwick. In 2008, she graduated from the NCAA Women’s Coaches. Academy. She resides in Stockton, Calif.