Army Adds Colgate Assistant Megan Shaffer, Ex-Arizona Swimmer Ryan Purdy to Coaching Staff

Army head coach Brandt Nigro announced two additions to his staff on Thursday, giving the combined program the maximum of eight total coaches allowed by the NCAA.

Megan Shaffer comes to West Point from Colgate University, where she spent two years as an assistant coach and men’s recruiting coordinator. Ryan Purdy will begin his coaching career at Army after a successful collegiate career at Iowa (2019-21) and Arizona (2021-24). Both Shaffer and Purdy will serve as assistants under Nigro.

Shaffer helped guide the Colgate women to a 5-3 dual meet record last season, their first winning campaign in six years. Lucy Art‘s 3rd-place finish in the 100 free also marked the first Raider woman to make the podium at the Patriot League Championships in a decade.

Before Colgate, Shaffer served as an assistant at Franklin and Marshall for one year. The Diplomat men earned their highest-ever finish at the NCAA Championships (17th) as both the men and women combined for 17 program records, including two conference records. As a swimmer, Shaffer team captain at Division III Susquehanna, where she graduated from in 2020 with a degree in creative writing and publishing & editing.

“I’m so honored and blessed to be joining Army Swim and Dive,” Shaffer said. “Brandt has an amazing vision for where he wants the program to go, and the staff is truly dedicated and motivated to work towards that. I’m so excited to be working with them and the swimmers to achieve new accomplishments and keep moving up. Go Army, beat Navy!”

Purdy ascended to team captain at Arizona after transferring away from Iowa in the wake of the Hawkeyes cutting their men’s swimming and diving team. The Illinois native concluded his collegiate career at February’s Pac-12 Championships, placing 8th in the 100 breast (52.56), 13th in the 100 back (47.37), and 17th in the 200 IM (1:43.26). Purdy graduated from Arizona this year with a bachelor’s degree in Learning and Leadership Innovation with a minor in recreation and sport.

“I want to start by thanking Coach Brandt and the entire staff at Army West Point for taking me into this fast growing program,” Purdy said. “The incredible athletic and academic opportunities at West Point are second to none and I’m ecstatic to contribute to this team’s growth. The uniqueness of this institution is one of a kind and I can’t wait to start my career here and learn from the best coaches in the nation!”

Both the Army men and women placed 2nd at the 2024 Patriot League Championships behind rival Navy. Nigro is entering his sixth season at Army, where he has helped produce an NCAA qualifier and victory over Navy — feats that hadn’t been accomplished in more than 30 years.

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About Riley Overend

Riley is an associate editor interested in the stories taking place outside of the pool just as much as the drama between the lane lines. A 2019 graduate of Boston College, he arrived at SwimSwam in April of 2022 after three years as a sports reporter and sports editor at newspapers …

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