And the other shoe dropped. Putting an end to at least one train of the coaching carousel today, Cal men’s head coach Dave Durden has hired NCAP coach Yuri Suguiyama as his newest assistant.
Suguiyama’s star rocketed this summer as the coach of 15-year old Katie Ledecky, who won Olympic gold in the women’s 800 free and broke Janet Evans’ American Record. As the head coach of CUBU’s Georgetown site, he went from somewhat of a largely anonymous, albeit solid, coaching role to America’s hottest coaching name. Among many other honors, he was recently named the Potomac Valley Swimming Coach of the Year.
“We approached this opportunity looking for ways to enhance and improve our program,” Durden said of the hire. “As we moved through the month of September, it became more and more evident that Yuri is the coach to help us do just that. I have watched Yuri’s career over the last six years. His intellect, his organization, and the culture he promotes within his environment are the very aspects we value within our Cal swimming family. We happily welcome him to the pool deck, and I look forward to working side by side with such a great coach and great person.”
With so many coaching changes happening so late in the year (pushed back because of the Olympics), at some point there were going to be a few big-name club coaches making the jump to the NCAA level to wrap things up.
Suguiyama, though not to be pigeonholed into one specialty, obviously has had success with training distance swimmers: which fits right into where Cal is moving with recruiting big-name distance swimmers like Janardan Burns.
Fans of the Cal women will find this move just as interesting, as the speculation about a possible Ledecky-to-Cal commitment down the line will be an obvious leap. Of course, there’s plenty of time before Ledecky has to make a college decision.
Suguiyama will replace Greg Meehan, who took the head coaching job with the Stanford women a few weeks ago.
In a fun little twist of fate, while Durden was at Maryland, he coached Suguiyama’s sister Erica.
We’re working on finding out who Ledecky will train with at NCAP now that Suguiyama has moved on, and will bring you that report as soon as the information is available.