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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Rick Allred
3 years ago

Will Coach Stickels retain any of the coaches currently at Alabama or will he assemble a totally new staff? Will Jonty Skinner also retire with Coach Pursley? Will any of the 2019 recruits, especially the sprinters who committed to Indiana, follow Coach Stickels to BAMA?

Roll Tide
3 years ago

Let Held and Vini Lanza train with Robert… he’ll show them how it’s done

Reply to  Roll Tide
3 years ago

Yes. Because the Olympic gold medalist and NCAA champion need to be show how it’s done.

3 years ago

His first fire needs to be James. Hopefully he will keep Jonty, but if not I have a feeling Jonty will stick around to train Robert Howard

3 years ago

I really hope Jonty continues at Bama. He is an awesome coach and has done amazing things with the sprint freestylers there.

Dennis PursleyGoat
Reply to  JontyFan
3 years ago

If any one of the coaches should stay then it should be the one and only Jonty Skinner. This guy will be better than any other coach he could hire. Even in any other coaching position than the sprint coach:
Also, let Robert Howard train at Bama with Jonty Skinner so that he can get some W’s at the Games and
get us some recruits.

3 years ago

Creighton Prep pipeline continues at Bama

Cookie Monster
3 years ago

When did the lead singer from smash mouth star coaching swimming?

3 years ago

Congrats to Coley! Great hire!

3 years ago

Did he swim at UF? Looks old if so BUT coaching will do that to a feller! I say kudos to Alabama for making a quick hire, they seem to do things efficiently. Will be very interesting to watch the coaching carousel with all the other vacancies! Congratulations Coley and best wishes.

About Jared Anderson

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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