Coaching Carousel Notes

One of my favorite hobbies, like many other people who follow or coach the sport, is to follow the springtime carousel of college coaching jobs.

There’s been a flurry of activity in the last week, and I thought about writing about one hiring or another, but couldn’t come up with a whole post’s worth of worthwhile things to say about each hiring. So here’s a little snapshot of a couple of the movement with some predictions alongside:

Princeton is Going to Make a Harvard Like Surge

Here’s the deal with Matt Crispino, who was announced as the head coach of Princeton men yesterday. He is not the most well-known coach in college swimming. But people that do know him, or know of him, think that he is really, really good.

Coaching in the Ivy League is a unique beast, but I don’t think it is in the way that many people think. Many of the programs are deceptively successful for a number of reasons. The primary one is that you can be completely incompetent at recruiting and still get talented swimmers year in and year out.

High school swimmers that are fast often prize academics, and the Ivy League has a natural appeal.

What I’m trying to say is that Crispino has proven that he can recruit, develop athletes and have his kids excel in the classroom. It is not easy to be successful at William and Mary. I’m not saying that Princeton will be a cake walk by any means, but I expect that with Crispino they can have similar NCAA results to Harvard within a few years.

Cyndi Gallagher is a huge loss

Cyndi Gallagher retired earlier this week, a move that has received deceptively little attention in comparison to her impact and influence throughout the sport.

I met Cyndi for the first time this past March at PAC-12s, and like many people I came away immensely impressed. Cyndi coached at UCLA for 31 years and rather than get set in her ways she was still innovating to the very end. That included, among other things, having a dedicated sports psychologist with the team at crucial points throughout the year, including the PAC-12 meet.

She took the well-being of those around her seriously, and she managed to seem warm and friendly and fiercely competitive at the same time. She’s a role model for a lot of coaches and I, for one, hope to find a way to still learn from her in the future.

Lets Speculate on Some Women Getting Jobs

Frustratingly, the speculation about who will get what job often centers around an overwhelmingly male list of candidates. On the one hand, that is probably depressingly accurate in terms of who will actually get hired. On the other hand? Screw that. In no particular order, here are some prime candidates for head coaching positions that are still out there waiting for a creative athletic director.

(Side note, I do not have any special knowledge that any of these coaches are “looking”, I’m just trying to promote their potential candidacy).

Stefanie Williams Moreno: It’s been almost two years since I wrote this. Can somebody please figure this out? it’s getting kind of embarrassing how ready she is to take over a team and kick some butt. Could she be the person to fill Gallagher’s shoes at UCLA?

Jennifer Buffin: Jennifer has been available since Oregon State’s cowardly decision to cut and run on their Swimming and Diving program. Would she be interested in returning to Hawai’i, where she coached for ten years before moving to Oregon State?

Tanica Jamison: Sorry to keep repeating myself, but either Jamison is very happy to stay as an Associate at A&M or she is a really well qualified candidate getting passed over.

Tracy Slusser: See above. It’s hard to imagine that Slusser wouldn’t be one of the first options for a lot of jobs if she was interested. Add to all her success at Stanford that she will cut her teeth on an international team this summer.

Catherine (Vogt) Kase: Speaking of international coaching success how about an Olympic coach leading your team? Kase was an Olympic coach for Tunisia in 2012 and team USA in 2016. Ous Mellouli would win gold in 2012 for Tunisia. Yes, I know Open Water is not an NCAA event but the Olympics is the Olympics and she’s proven she can coach.

Anyway, I look forward to seeing how the rest of the off-season goes. If the start is any indication, we’re going to see this thing roll right through the summer and spring once again so there is plenty of more action to take in.