Alabama Hires IU’s Coley Stickels As New Head Swim & Dive Coach

The University of Alabama has announced Indiana sprint coach Coley Stickels as its new head coach for men’s and women’s swimming & diving. Stickels was previously the associate head sprint coach for the Hoosiers.

Stickels was rumored to be one of the top candidates at Alabama, which has become something of a sprint powerhouse in recent years. Alabama alum Dennis Pursley had coached the program since 2012, but retired at the end of this collegiate season. His men’s team finished 7th and his women’s team 34th at the NCAA Championships this past year.

Stickels has been with Indiana since 2017. Prior to that, he was a highly-regarded club coach with the Canyons Aquatic Club in California, training U.S. Olympian Abbey Weitzeil as a high schooler. He’ll take over an Alabama program that graduates star sprinter Robert Howard, but should return Zane Waddell and Sam Disette on the men’s side and Flora Molnar on the women’s side. The women also return NCAA scoring distance swimmer Kensey McMahon.

For Indiana, Stickels departure leaves a major gap in the sprints. IU already lost assistant sprint coach Kirk Grand, who is moving to Colorado Springs and leaving the IU program as well.

The Alabama job was one of the bigger openings this off-season, though some major ones still remain: the Stanford men and UNC’s combined program the other two Power-5 conference openings. The SEC will continue to see fresh blood in its coaching ranks: Florida’s Anthony Nesty and Jeff Poppell, plus Auburn’s Gary Taylor were rookie head coaches in 2018-2019.

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Cal fan
2 years ago

Indiana sprints taking a big hit this year. I hope Cody Miller posts a goodbye vlog from both coaches. Arethosehis main coaches? I’m ow he’s in sprint group a lot but also trains under Ray Looze for breastroke

Buckeyeboy
2 years ago

Great hire.

pete kennedy
Reply to  Buckeyeboy
2 years ago

Stickles any relation to that great swimmer from the past ?

RenéDescartes
Reply to  pete kennedy
2 years ago

You mean the Coley Stickels that swam at Zona? In the fleshy flesh.

Alec
2 years ago

Good luck coach Stickels, Roll Tide!

Fly 100
2 years ago

Excellent choice !

Yolo
2 years ago

Rip Ryan Held and Zach Apple

Hot Take
Reply to  Yolo
2 years ago

Stickels doesn’t touch Zach Apple in workouts, he trains under Mike Westphal

Gorb
Reply to  Hot Take
2 years ago

Hasn’t worked out so well for Apple under Westfall. Zach was better at Auburn under Hawke. Coley can certainly coach as we have seen him time and time again produce at the highest level with a new and dynamic approach. Great hire!

Superfan
Reply to  Gorb
2 years ago

What elite swimmers did Coley develop/coach as a club coach besides Abbey Weitzel?

Admin
Reply to  Superfan
2 years ago

Keaton Blovad, who was the youngest swimmer at trials in 2012. Cole Cogswell. Names that jump to mind, I’m sure there’s more.

Rsquad
Reply to  Braden Keith
2 years ago

A few more: Grace Carlson (was the youngest Olympic trials in 2008). Nikol Popov nag record holder. Tanner Olson was fast out of hs with him. Many more but those ones stand out to me.

John Swimmerly
Reply to  Rsquad
2 years ago

Santo Conderelli got fast with Coley before Bolles School

Superfan
Reply to  Braden Keith
2 years ago

Thabks

Gorb
Reply to  Braden Keith
2 years ago

Santo Condorelli swam w him in 2016 and as an age grouper. He had Roland and several other incredibly fast club kids.

ERVINFORTHEWIN
Reply to  Yolo
2 years ago

watch out ……those 2 are still growing well .

Superfan
2 years ago

Why not Jonty?

Curious
Reply to  Superfan
2 years ago

Better question, what happens with Jonty?

Admin
Reply to  Curious
2 years ago

Jonty + Coley could make for a new sprint juggernaut.

Whawhaaaa
Reply to  Braden Keith
2 years ago

No way. They both know everything there is to know about sprinting, according to themselves. Jonty is out unless coley doesn’t want to coach sprint anymore or Jonty is willing to move.

ArtVanDeLegh10
Reply to  Braden Keith
2 years ago

I wonder how having two sprint coaches will work.

Distant onlooker
Reply to  ArtVanDeLegh10
2 years ago

NC State has been running double srpint coaches for a while now its its been working for them

Yin yang
Reply to  Distant onlooker
2 years ago

Just curious. Did NC State have one male go a best time in the 50 Free this year? Didn’t seem like it.

Admin
Reply to  Yin yang
2 years ago

This is the list of male swimmers for NC State who went lifetime bests in the 50 free this season, or the best I can discern from the databases:

Nyls Korstanje – 19.03
Cobe Garcia – 19.47
Tyler Rice – 19.87
Coleman Stewart – 19.88
Noah Hensley – 20.12
Andreas Vazaios – 20.25
Luke Sobolewski – 20.54
Jacob Johnson – 20.72

oldswimfan
Reply to  Yin yang
2 years ago

You must be a big fan of the pack 🙂 Paying attention so closely… I did pay attention on their 200 free relays at NCAA on both side. The men finished 2nd for the 2nd year in a row (and yes Cal beat them. Did you also watch Cal boys went 1-2 in the 50 free?) their women finished 5th. I think it’s working just fine.

2Fat4Speed
Reply to  ArtVanDeLegh10
2 years ago

Oh! You must be a distance swimmer…

Sprinters work just as hard as distance swimmers! 🙂

Dudeman
Reply to  2Fat4Speed
2 years ago

Just as hard, for a much shorter amount of time… which is easier

Jimbo
Reply to  2Fat4Speed
2 years ago

That is just no. Just no

Potentially
Reply to  Superfan
2 years ago

keith maybe Jonty will move to a Breaststroke coaching position given the team has a lot of underclassmen breaststrokers. We’ve seen him coach some big breaststrokers in the past in England and at bama

Swammer
2 years ago

Great hire. I’m curious what’s going to happen to the Indiana pro sprint group. I know Margo went to Indiana for coley and Held just went an in season best after beginning to train with coley. Curious situation.

Togger
Reply to  Swammer
2 years ago

Can’t imagine Bama would be too impressed handing Coley a hefty pay cheque only to have him spend half his time working with pros he brought with him. If they wanted that they’d hire Marsh.

Slight worry for the men’s US 4×100, barely a year out from Trials is not the ideal time for all of Held, Pieroni and Apple to be having a coaching change.

Superfan
Reply to  Togger
2 years ago

You really think all those guys swim with Coley full time? Read the other comments.

Hot Take
Reply to  Togger
2 years ago

Pieroni and Apple do not train under Coley Stickels. Held, on the other hand, has a decision to make

ACC fan
Reply to  Swammer
2 years ago

Held has been at Indiana for about 5 minutes. I hope he’s smart enough to go back to Raleigh.

Leto
Reply to  ACC fan
2 years ago

Held to join Conger at UVa?

PSCalum
2 years ago

Both Dennis Pursley and Coley were at one point the head coach of Phoenix Swim Club. I was lucky to be on the team during both of their tenures. Very different coaching styles but I tremendously respect both, and both have had amazing results with their swimmers! Excited to follow Coley’s new venture!

I'mIMer
Reply to  PSCalum
2 years ago

Would you care to describe their coaching styles?

PSCalum
Reply to  I'mIMer
2 years ago

Well, it’s been a while since I knew them, so don’t murder me if they’ve changed…

Denny was about as old school as they come (lots of yards but they were high quality – BEST had some really excellent milers/400 IMers at the time). Coley was very new school and did a ton of short race pace training interspersed with funky (but good!) stroke drills. He planned very detailed training cycles months ahead of time and it seemed like he was always researching physiology/new training strategies. He is relatively young so I would guess he has changed a little since then, but I would guess his overall philosophy hasn’t changed.

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Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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