Cassie Churnside joined Harvard's men's and women's water polo coaching staff in June 2014. Churnside came to Cambridge from the SET Water Polo Club in Irvine, Calif., where she was the head coach of SET 16U and the assistant coach of SET 18U.
Churnside helped guide the men’s program to the most successful season in Harvard history in 2016. For the third consecutive season under Churnside, the men’s team won 20-plus games to finish with a 27-7 record, marking the first time that a Harvard water polo program has achieved that feat. The Crimson defeated a program-record 13 ranked opponents and was ranked as high as No. 8 in the CWPA poll. Harvard won the first conference championship in school history, taking home the Northeast Water Polo Conference (NWPC) Championship and clinching the first-ever NCAA Championship berth in school history. Churnside and the Crimson went on to win two NCAA tournament games with victories over No. 12 Bucknell and No. 9 UC Davis to earn a spot in the NCAA Final Four. On the women's side, the Crimson finished 15-14 while earning its highest finish at the CWPA Championships since 2000 with a fourth-place mark.
The women's team enjoyed one of its most successful seasons in program history in Churnside's second season, finishing the year at 24-10 and recording the first back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time in program history. The Crimson checked in at No. 13 in the CWPA rankings from March 23 – April 6 for its highest ranking ever, while also marking a program first with nine wins against top-25 teams this season.
In her second season with the men’s program, Churnside was instrumental in helping Harvard to a 21-10 record and one the most memorable seasons in program history. Churnside helped Harvard to numerous firsts on the season as it reached No. 12 in the CWPA poll, defeated three top-10 opponents, downed six ranked opponents and tied the best finish in program history with a third-place showing at the CWPA Championship.
In her first season with the men’s program, coach Churnside helped lead the team to a 22-10 record, the most wins since 2000. Under her leadership, the Crimson boasted the CWPA Northern Player of the Year, Northern Rookie of the Year, two All-Northern first team selections and two All-Northern second team selections.
The women's program also saw a banner year in her first season. The team finished 20-13, the most wins since 2004, and saw four players earn All-CWPA Division I/II postseason honors.
Churnside, an Orange, Calif., native, helped to lead the Stanford Cardinal to the 2011 and 2012 national titles. Aside from her national success in the pool, Churnside has a wealth of coaching experience.
Before taking over at SET, Churnside was an assistant coach at Laguna Beach Unified School District. During her tenure, her teams won the Division I CIF championship, Orange Coast League championship and the Triple Crown Tournament championship. During her four years as a student-athlete in Palo Alto, Churnside also worked as a camp counselor and coach for the Cardinal.
Churnside graduated from Stanford in 2012 with a bachelor of arts in communication.