From Staff Reports
Mother McAuley has announced that Nancy O’Brien-Kane has been hired as head varsity water polo coach.
O’Brien-Kane, a 1984 McAuley graduate, is joined by new head junior varsity coach Maura Tiernan and assistant coaches Clare Bryar and Fran Williamson.
This marks a return and a reunion for O’Brien-Kane and Tiernan, who together coached the Mighty Macs to an Illinois Swim Association water polo state runner-up finish in 2001, and back-to-back IHSA state championships in 2002 and 2003. Those same years, O’Brien-Kane and Tiernan were named Coach of the Year by the IHSA. O’Brien-Kane and Tiernan’s overall record was 90-16.
“Nancy and Maura are a great addition to our coaching staff and I’m excited to see them in action again,” said McAuley Athletic Director Laurie Roache Jakubczak. “They each bring tremendous experience and knowledge of our school and program. I’m confident that they will challenge and inspire our athletes and continue to advance what has become an award-winning and well-respected water polo program throughout the state.”
A competitive water polo player for 10 years and swimmer for more than 18 years, O’Brien-Kane, along with her mother, Eileen O’Brien, were instrumental in establishing the McAuley swim and water polo program in the 1980s. As a Mighty Mac, O’Brien-Kane was a state qualifying swimmer in individual and relay events. She also was a member of the U.S. Junior National Water Polo Team. She attended Notre Dame, where she was the only female member of the Men’s Water Polo Club; a four-year member of the varsity swim team; a two-time Monogram Winner; and team captain her senior year.
O’Brien-Kane’s daughter, Nancy Kane, is a 2019 graduate of McAuley and a setter for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish volleyball team.
“I am excited to return to coach water polo at McAuley with Maura Tiernan, Clare Bryar and Fran Williamson,” said O’Brien-Kane. “I am looking forward to continuing the strong McAuley water polo tradition, and I’m grateful to all the coaches have kept the program growing, including Scott White, Terry McShane, Larry O’Connell and Vanessa Carroll.”
Tiernan is a graduate of Evergreen Park, where she was a starter for the varsity water polo team, which earned multiple state championship titles during her four years as a Mustang. Three years in a row she was named the state’s Most Valuable Player.
Tiernan continued her swim career at North Central College in Naperville. She was inducted into the Illinois Water Polo Hall of Fame in 2019.
“I am so happy to be back coaching with Nancy,” said Tiernan. “I’m also excited to work with Clare and Fran and a wonderful group of girls.”