On a team full of eccentric people, senior utility Milos Golic of the men’s water polo stands out above the rest. The Belgrade, Serbia native brings a unique intensity and drive the game.
[media-credit id=20108 align=”alignleft” width=”250″][/media-credit]“He’s a little bit too intense,” senior utility Zsombor Vincze said. “He has Serbian fever in his blood. It’s really funny… most of the time.”
Despite Golic’s intensity, which often includes screaming Serbian swear words, the senior’s “Serbian fever” has helped establish him as one of the best players in college.
“He’s the best shooter I have ever seen,” freshman driver Matt Gronow said. “He is one of the only players in college who could win a game by himself. He’s unreal.”
Golic’s road to Santa Barbara began in Serbia, where he played for Partizan — the premier water polo club of Serbia. Golic was also part of the junior Serbian national team where he won a European Championship, essentially making him a part of the best junior team in the world.
Golic’s club traveled to Florida to play in a water polo tournament, where he met Drac and Janson Wigo, younger brothers of UCSB head coach Wolf Wigo. The Wigo brothers helped Wolf, who went against popular opinion, and recruited Golic.
“Everyone told him to recruit this other kid,” Golic said. “I had less than a 50 percent chance [of coming to UCSB]. But he [Wolf] understood my madness.”
Wigo’s decision paid off in the long run. Golic scored 53 goals his freshman year and was named All-American Honorable Mention. He then lead the country in goals scored the next two years on his way to being name to the All-American First team both years. This year, he has already broken the UCSB all time record for career goals, which stood for 27 years and currently leads the conference with 45 goals.
“He is the best [player] in the nation for sure,” Vincze said. “When he has a great day he is unstoppable and when he doesn’t, he is still really great.”
Ironically, Golic loathes swimming.
“I love everything else about water polo,” Golic said. “But I hate swimming. Everybody should know that.”
However, Golic has not allowed his hatred for swimming to stop him from working hard and influencing the team. The captain’s intensity is relentless and he always expects the best out of everyone, especially himself.
Golic has been known to scream in Serbian at himself when he makes a mistake.
“I yell at myself and curse at myself,” Golic said. “It motivates me to push myself harder and get better.”
Golic’s habit has become quite entertaining to the team, but his use of Serbian is not limited to his little outbursts. Ever since freshman defender Lazar Komandinic, a fellow Serbian, came to the team, the use of Serbian has dramatically increased in practice.
“The official language of practice is Serbian,” Vincze said. “You hear more Serbian words in practice than English.”
Golic’s intensity and success extends past the water all the way into the classroom. Despite struggling to learn English upon arrival, Golic has found success through his ability to organize.
“It used to take me two hours to read what would now take five minutes,” Golic said. “[But] I figured out ho to organize myself … Organization for sure.”
Now Golic, along with Vincze, has the top grade point average in the entire athletic department.
“He is very competitive in the classroom,” Head Coach Wolf Wigo said. “Not all athletes can [translate] that athletic intensity into studying.”
Although Golic has the talent to play professionally, the Serbian native plans on hanging up his Speedo at the end of the year to pursue a masters degree in finance. He has applied to the best finance programs around the world, including schools in England, France and, of course, here in the United States. Some of his top choices include Harvard and Princeton.
“He is destined for great things,” Wigo said.
Golic and the water polo team play the second of their four-game road trip against Berkeley on Nov. 6.