BREAKING: Eric Hansen Resigns as Head Coach of Arizona Swim Teams

  51 Braden Keith | January 21st, 2014 | College, Featured, News, Pac-12

There is finally some closure out of the University of Arizona today, as the school has officially announced that former head men’s & women’s swimming & diving coach Eric Hansen has resigned from his position.

In news first in to SwimSwam, we have learned today from a University spokesperson that the team was told this afternoon of the decision, which clears up much, but not all, of the questions that have swirled since Hansen took a leave of absence on October 22, 2013 for undisclosed reasons. Several rumors have swirled about what caused Hansen’s leave, but we were unable to substantiate any from reliable sources. Hansen hasn’t responded to several requests for contact over the last three months. The school didn’t provide any further information as to the reasons for the leave of absence, and swimmers were not given any more details in their team meeting today either.

“I have decided to resign my position as head swimming and diving coach at Arizona,” Hansen said in a statement released through Arizona. “After taking a leave from the program in October, I came to the decision that it would be best for me to step down and pursue other interests. I want to thank athletics director Greg Byrne and the current athletic administration for the opportunity I was given.”

Hansen was an assistant for the Wildcats from 1996-1999, at which point he left to take over as the head coach of Wisconsin. He returned to Tucson, from where he earned his Master’s Degree, in the 2011-2012 season to become the head coach after Frank Busch took over as the USA Swimming National Team Director. There were several transfers, both into and out of his program, in two-plus seasons, though it was at a rate not totally inconsistent than most head coaching changes (see places like Virginia for other recent examples).

“I want to thank Eric for serving as Arizona’s head swimming and diving coach,” said Byrne. “Although Eric will no longer serve as head coach, he remains very supportive of Arizona swimming and diving, and we thank him for his service to the program. Associate head coach Rick Demont will serve as interim head coach until a new head coach is named. We plan to open the position and conduct a national search. I’m confident we will find an excellent head coach to lead our swimming and diving program.”

In Hansen’s second full year at Arizona the 2012-2013 season, his women’s team finished 5th at the NCAA Championships, including NCAA titles by Margo Geer in both the 50 and 100 yard freestyles; and his men finished 2nd, including American and NCAA Record-crushing performances by breaststroker Kevin Cordes.

Associate Head Coach Rick DeMont will continue providing leadership to the program, as he has done since Hansen took his leave of absence, and Omar Ojeda remains as the head diving coach. Demont has now for the first time, however, been given the interim title.

Comments

  1. Cookie monster says:
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    I heard some very disturbing rumors about this. Not sure if they are true.

    • BearDown says:
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      What are the rumors circulating?

      • Braden Keith Braden Keith says:
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        We won’t comment on that beyond letting everyone know that we’ve heard the same rumors as them, and haven’t been able to substantiate them.

        More a warning for everyone to keep in mind until we know something concrete.

        • Brian M says:
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          Here’s a hint…we will never know something concrete, this is another issue swept under the rug…it disturbs me how corrupt this sport is, and how people go out of their way to protect the powers that be. Since forums such as this fail to shed some light, we will just deal with the same old same old. It’s why predators have survived and flourished in this sport for so long, and continue to do so.

          • Spencer says:
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            Thank you Brian m. Saving face for universities and USA swimming means protecting criminals in the process. Our athletes (mostly children) will continue to shoulder the abuse of such cover ups. It’s exhausting to think of how little accountability has been taken and to realize how many coaches and parents continue to look the other way. I could put together a hell of a “who’s who” of coaches that protected abusers. Very few come out of this chaos clean.

    • YouGotLezakd says:
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      Could you shed some light on the subject?

      • Swam says:
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        Perhaps just state an overall theme of the rumors to shed a tad bit of light?
        academic scandal?
        abuse?
        personal issue such as sickness?
        family problem?

        If anyone knows anything but doesn’t want to share all, can you please just say the over-arching matter? Thanks. Very strange deal, and definitely don’t want false rumors to spread.

        • Braden Keith Braden Keith says:
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          Swam – my guess is that the people who know won’t be saying anything on the message boards.

          This has been kept shockingly close-to-the-chest by Hansen/Arizona. Usually, the story gets out. So far, nothing.

    • Steve Nolan says:
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      Here’s to hoping he’s just some kind of run-of-the-mill arse and not a monster…

  2. SwimminIsGood says:
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    Thanks for the update…hopefully the Wildcats can put this aside and continue on with a great season. As an FYI, the Arizona Men’s team got 3rd at NCAAs last year (’12-’13)…Michigan 1st, Cal 2nd, Arizona 3rd, if I’m not mistaken….

  3. Nomad says:
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    This is just very very blizzare….

  4. beerme says:
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    i’d guess no comment means something seriously bad went down

  5. SEP says:
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    Good luck to the Wildcat team as they put this chapter behind them.

    I would like to say that I am disappointed that this article compared the team transfers of the Arizona team to the UVA team. The circumstances that led to the transfer are in no way similar and I think an apology is owed to UVA coaches and swimmers.

    • Transfer says:
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      Everybody transfers for different reasons. Nobody is owed an apology here. He simply pointed out the rate was he same. Not that they were for the same reasons

    • Not SwimSwam says:
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      No

    • Sam I am says:
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      There were two transfers off of the UVA team after their swim coach left for reasons that were never stated, and the board went nuts with rumors and wild lies all the way down to someone bringing up Child Porn on campus that had nothing to do with the swim team.

      With this we must stay with the facts. If this is the policy, fine, but please keep this policy in place for all cases, not just ones that the powers that be find in their best interest.

      • Does UVA Want the Truth to Come Out? says:
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        LOL! Virginia fans getting all upset because they think their scandals are treated more unfairly than everyone else’s scandals. Because yeah: the Busch Bros. definitely are not connected to the ‘powers that be.’

        I think based on what everyone knows about what’s happening in the UVA program right now, Virginia fans might be better off keeping their heads down on the matter of scandals. Sam I Am – I think you know what I’m talking about.

        • Sam I am says:
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          I would welcome the truth to come out and hope it does, whatever it might be. I just find it interesting that in this case we are warned to wait for the facts, but with Utah, Tennessee, and UVA there are no such advisories.

        • Wise Owl says:
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          More hate for Virginia. Some folks never pass up an opportunity. I don’t believe that Bernardino did anything scandalous. I think he is probably guilty of being loyal to a fault, and he is known for his temper and in being fairly stubborn. When someone has great success, they are a target. He was at UVa for over 30 years, and people have strong opinions both ways. Why does Klein get a pass? Just asking. Mark took all the heat while Chip settled into a new job. The Virginia team has been through a tough time I am sure, so why beat up on these athletes? They have no reason to feel ashamed, nor do their fans for that matter. I like swimmers. I like NCAA swimming. I wish nothing but the best for the Arizona program, Rick, and the athletes who are coping with this situation. You are alluding to a problem “right now”. If there is a new problem, why don’t you wait until the FACTS come out instead of trying to cause more controversy? You should not take delight in the problems of another person.

      • Jg says:
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        On the contrary .

        This was the 3rd major child pornography bust with UVA connections in 3 years . Make your own conclusion . He has been indicted by grand jury & has pleaded not guilty. So due process but you can’t expect UVA to be worrying about a swim programme . Try & get some perspective .

        If you guys did not have your heads continually wrapped in a towel maybe you would be more aware. Try not to be so cavalier when someone points out FBI investigation into your fave university. ( if they were not still looking they would not be doing their job ) .

        However UVA did have a student sport homicide ( under appeal ) which demonstrated very poor student athlete behaviour to say the least.

  6. wondering says:
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    what is with all the coaches leaving recently… did anyone ever figure out what happened to the Virginia coach?

    • Wise Owl says:
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      The non disclosure agreement between UVa and Bernardino is for a couple of years, so we won’t know till he talks. Period. Klein probably is the one person that could talk and I’m sure that won’t happen. He’s been nothing but quiet.

  7. Wilcat says:
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    Braden, please email me. I’d like to talk.

  8. Bossanova says:
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    I certainly hope the rumours I’ve heard aren’t true…..

  9. Sam says:
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    Rumors this, rumors that. I heard this, I heard that……….

    If you have nothing concrete to say, why even bother posting?

    It’s usually drugs, sex or both maybe with some money thrown in there somewhere.

    It can’t be much crazier than what happened in Knoxville with the former men’s coach. That was nuts…………….

    I know nothing about the UofA.

  10. PAC12BACKER says:
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    The irony is his last coaching effort at UA was the shocking upset loss at Utah in October, a program that was just recovering from its own head coaching trouble.

    Hopefully the rumors are not true and he will be able to get back coaching. Otherwise, his last memory is the thunderous din of the packed capicity Ute crowd.

  11. joe Momma says:
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    JG

    I am not a UVa apologist unless visiting the campus more than 30 years ago counts as being an apologist. A few things: 1) the homicide that happened at UVa did not happen in a vacuum. UVa had that student for only a short period of time in the child’s life. The stresses of a bad relationship combined with the academic and athletic pressures on today’s youth were probably the straws that broke the camel’s back. UVa is no more responsible for the murder or the child’s behavior than you or me. I can bet you that the child’s parents are mortified and embarrassed and knew close to nothing about their son’s issues. 2) your insuations that the ex swim coach is somehow involved in the child porn ring are preposterous. Whether you intended it or not, that is how your comment reads. If you have something to say, say it (for what it is worth, your comments are protected by the First Amendment as long as it can be demonstrated that you weren’t malicious or purposely stating falsehoods when you made your comment).

    As an ex swimmer and the father of one young swimmer, I find the general vitriol directed at today’s coaches and their staff to be ridiculous.

    • I agree says:
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      Thank you Joe Momma, a clear head.

      It’s easy to accuse the Arizona coach or whomever of anything. When the university and a coach both agree on “leaving for personal reasons”, then that’s it, personal. If a coach wanted everyone to know he/she was wrongly treated, he/she would not have signed an agreement with University.

      Swimmers, you are still great swimmers!!

  12. Braden Keith Braden Keith says:
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    An update for those following this story – we have tracked down more information from reliable sources, but may have to wait until Friday or Monday before we receive documentation.

  13. weirdo says:
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    uva or ua story?…I lost track

  14. Peterdavis says:
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    I’ve heard that it is a benign personal matter that unfortunately centers around a charged subject – hence the silence. And, by definition, all of the rumors are false but the one that is true. So speculation seems irresponsible, even for those of us with little to no reputation to uphold.

    One bright spot, is that since he’s been gone awhile, the team could likely be long over this, and buying in to DeMont already.

  15. Anonymous says:
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    The case of UVA`s Mark bernadino, i believe was about him releasing information of the girls weights to staff members and to other teamates and made the weighing a team event instead of a private one. this Does`nt seem like a large deal to me but it does expose information which isn`t allowed to be exposed.

    • Braden Keith Braden Keith says:
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      To ensure that our readers understand the difference between our reporting and what’s in the comments section – while what the above Anonymous has said may be true, it is unverified and this is the first time we’ve heard this explanation for Bernardino’s departure.

    • sam says:
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      If the head UVA football coach releases infomation about his player’s weights to staff members and teammates, does he can canned too?

      Just curious.

    • Peterdavis says:
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      Tell me this isn’t real life.

  16. sam says:
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    excuse my typo…….I meant does he get canned too? It looks like that a poster can’t edit his/her post for spelling errors etc…….

  17. SwimFan says:
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    Jeez, it is no state secret that the UVA head man resigned because he simply would not be dictated to on staff matters by the administrative folks. Nothing sinister just a bad cop, good cop routine that was drawing negative feedback on surveys of the student-athletes. Managers are replaced all the time in the business world when employee surveys indicate similar and if your boss tells you to fire your number two and you are in a position to retire you similarly say “go pound sand”

  18. sam holland says:
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    Arizona could always try to get Jochums to come out of retirement, I’d rather have Demont

  19. bossanova says:
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    Did the other article get deleted? Why? Things like that just feed the rumour mill even more.

  20. Behike56 says:
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    Let’s start talking about who fills this opening, possibly the biggest job open this year (controversies in the ACC/SEC not with standing)…

    Under other circumstances I’d throw out Augie Busch as a potential frontrunner but now not so sure.

    Dos leave the Plains after just a year to get back at the helm of the program? Will a big name be teased out of the club ranks…Marsh? Sergio? Does J. Hargis leave the Plains after just a year to get back at the helm of the program? Or will Demont change his mind from 2011 and decide he wants to take on the responsibility of HC? Will be interesting for sure.

  21. Joel Lin says:
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    Will Augie pull a Lane Kiffen and go back to UA?

    • Wahoo Strong says:
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      I don’t think he would do that. He has made a committment and he has worked hard to build an enthusiastic, positive atmosphere on the Virginia team. He is about building a great team and he won’t tear that down. Nobody is perfect, and I know that he walked into a powder keg of a situation at UVa, but I believe in him.

  22. Cougar Strong? says:
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    Is that the same commitment that he made the the University of Houston?? Or now it’s cool, he means it this time?

    I tend to think you’re right. This whole thing is set up for his dad to come in after Rio and become a “volunteer assistant” and have a #teambusch party 24/7. I think it would be too awkward for that party to move back to Arizona.

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    cougar- when i first heard frank’s son took the head coach job at UVA, i thought for sure this meant frank would be moving to charlottesville. i’ve never had anyone else believe me on that. i’m not sure if i believe it as much now as i did in july, but still, i like your theory there

  24. Seth Pepper says:
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    Rick DeMont made me the person that I am today. When I came to The University of Arizona, I was a no-name kid from a small town. “Rocket” allowed me to become a Two-Time National Champion and Hall of Fame Inductee at the University of Arizona. If I was a young swimmer anywhere in the world, I would hop on the next plane, and beat a path to his doorstep. There is no other person on the planet that I would rather be my swim coach, than Rick “The Rocket” DeMont.

    • Seth Pepper says:
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      And then, Rick DeMont took my younger brother Martin Pepper into his program — Marty only started swimming at the age of 16 and has a completely different personality and way of the life — and again allowed him to become a National Champion and Inductee into The University of Arizona Hall of Fame. The proof is in the performance.

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