Yesterday, Swimswam posted an article speculating who might get hired at one of the most coveted jobs in swimming, head coach of Auburn University. This is shaping up to be an epic college hiring season and I applaud the article. It is fun to speculate about this kind of thing.
I would make only one significant edit to Swimswam's list. It is made up entirely of men. That's not entirely Swimswam's fault, strong cultural forces and the current makeup of college coaching mean that many of the best qualified or most well known candidates will be men.
That does not, however, mean that there aren't plenty of non-men out there who could do these jobs and do them really well! So, here's my wild speculation, and to balance Swimswam's list out, I'm not going to list any men.
Another point: I'm trying to stay realistic about how Athletic Directors at top schools hire, which means that they either look for successful Head Coaches or top assistants (associate head coach titles) at top 25 or better teams.
If you read my blog, you should have smelled this one coming. I believe that Stefanie Moreno got passed over for some head coaching positions last year. That's a shame. Let's hope that she gets seriously considered- her success at Georgia would be very relevant to Auburn.
A hire of Moreno could give instant credibility to Auburn making a big change and trying to do something different than the last few years.
Tanica Jamison is another coach who has done outstanding work year in and year out for another SEC program. A&M finished 3rd at NCAAs this year, their second straight top three finish.
Jamison was elevated to an Associate Head Coach position in 2016, a clear signal that Steve Bultman sees head coaching potential in her. Although it's also fair to speculate whether Bultman, who is seemingly locked in a competition with state rival Eddie Reese over who can defy father time for longer, will retire and Jamison will succeed him.
Still, Auburn could upset those plans and snatch a talented coach away from a rival right now.
Hicken-Franklin only changed jobs a year ago, so it might not be great timing for her to take another job. Still, she's proved herself plenty loyal through a decade and a half of successful work at Denver University.
She was the 2016 Collegeswimming.com Assistant Coach of the Year, and has been an Associate Head Coach at Denver and now at Minnesota.
Ok this last one is a little bit of a wildcard, and may be more unrealistic because Athletic Directors may have more trouble understanding how outstanding Kate Lundsten is.
But Lundsten absolutely should be in contention, for her consistent ability to coach athletes onto international teams for the US. While Lundsten has worked primarily in the club world, with the right staff around her, I have to believe she could be very successful at Auburn. She's a proven and experienced leader, and she's had to work her butt off to get to where she is.
That's the list
I hope you enjoyed speculating about some not men who should be considered for Auburn, or some of the other "big time" college swimming jobs that are out there. Some creative AD may see the opportunity in hiring somebody outside of the "usual" list and strike gold with that decision.