DP’s Little resigns due to expecting first child

Danelle Little’s family has been at the pool for the past nine years.

“The girls and the program have been my baby for a long time,” said the coach of the 3-time defending CIF Champion Dos Pueblos girls water polo squad.

But this time she’s having a baby for real, as Little announced her resignation earlier this week. She and her husband are expecting their first child in early March, just a week after the CIF Finals take place.

Danelle Little has won CIF Division I Coach of the Year honors for the past two seasons.

“It’s very exciting for my husband and I, but it’s tough to leave the girls. Luckily I’ll still be teaching [math] at the high school, but I’ll miss coaching these wonderful girls in a game they play at such a high level,” she said.

It’s been the highest level over the past few years, including an undefeated 2009-10 campaign in which the Chargers went 31-0 and beat Newport Harbor in comeback fashion for a third consecutive title.

While stars such as Sami Hill (UCLA) and Alex Hill (UC Berkeley) are off to start their college careers, the team still returns a core of talent led by two-time defending CIF Player of the Year Kiley Neushul. Little, a 1996 DP grad, has won CIF Division I Coach of the year the past two seasons.

“If coaches are measured by wins and loses, Danelle Little may go down as the greatest coach in Dos Pueblos history,” said Alex Hill, a two-time All-CIF First Team selection. “However, Danelle was more than a great coach — she was a friend, a confidant, and an inspiration.

“She was always there for us girls when we needed her, in the classroom or the pool or as a mentor. All the girls have a special place in their hearts for her, I know I have a lifelong friend in her.”

As far as a replacement goes, the school is obligated to look for an on-campus replacement first. Little said she has no say in the decision.

“Unfortunately, I don’t get much of a choice. It doesn’t pay much unless you get a teaching job attached to it, and we all know teaching jobs are scarce right now,” she said. “But it’s absolutely an incredible group to work with, and these girls know how to play water polo. I hope it will be as smooth a transition as possible.”