Keeping a strong relationship between a father and his son is difficult, especially during college.
Gannon University water polo coach Don Sherman, and his son, sophomore Cody Sherman think otherwise.
Both being a part of the men’s water polo team, Don and Cody have created a stronger relationship than they had before.
“We have always been close,” Don said. “But if it wasn’t for practice, I don’t think I would ever see him.”
Having your father as your coach is not always the easiest situation when being on a competitive team. But for the men’s water polo team at Gannon this situation is not an issue.
“We are all very close,” Cody said. “It is like they are all my brothers.”
For any student being away from home, having to deal with the change is hard. Luckily for Cody and the rest of the men on the team the pool is their new home, and the team is the family. Don Sherman makes everybody on the team equal in importance. “It is like he is everybody’s dad,” Cody says with pride.
Don Sherman played water polo for eight years and has been coaching the Gannon team since he opened the department in 1999. He knows firsthand what it takes to be successful in this sport and any sport for that matter.
As associate director of athletics at Gannon, he gets to see the academic achievements and athletic achievements each student athlete at Gannon accomplishes.
“I love the small town community,” Don Sherman said. “I have gotten to watch it change.”
“I like the community feel,” he said. “Especially between the other athletes.”
With limited space for teams at Gannon, all of the teams need to cooperate.
“The entire water polo team knows all the swimmers,” Cody said. “We are all very close.”
Don Sherman is not only the coach of the men’s water polo team, he is the women’s water polo coach as well. “You need to have a different approach” he said. “They both have different styles of play, but both work just as hard.”
The men’s waterpolo team finished second during the Colligate Water Polo Association (CWPA) Division II Eastern Championship over the weekend. Standing with an 8-8 record, Gannon is preparing for the CWPA Souther Division II Championships Friday through Sunday at Bucknell Univeristy.
Cody Sherman, a McDowell High School graduate, first started playing water polo in the sixth grade and became truly passionate by the eighth grade.
In high school, he had difficulty choosing between football and water polo before it became clear.
“They told me how much fun it was to play waterpolo,” Cody said. “Some of them are now my teammates here at Gannon.”
As a college student, he now has more obligations.
“It’s hard not to fall asleep after 5 a.m. practices,” Cody said.
The Sherman family has been a part of the Gannon community for years. With Don being an active member of the athletic department for 13 years, and with his two daughters also attending, it made it easy for Cody.
When it’s game time for the Knights, it is not just a couple fans in the stands, it is sometimes the whole Sherman clan.
“Sometimes you see my mom, Cody’s mom and his sisters,” Don said. “They are huge supporters.”
This year has posed different problems, as injuries have taken their toll on the Knights.
“It isn’t the battle this year as it usually is,” Cody said. “Due to the injuries everyone plays.”
Gannon is coming off a 14-12 win over Notre Dame (Ohio) College and a 18-5 loss to Mercyhurst University at the Division II Saturday.