Auburn Hires Houston’s Ryan Wochomurka As New Head Coach

Auburn has hired Ryan Wochomurka from the mid-major power Houston Cougars as its new head women’s and men’s swimming & diving coach.

He will replace Gary Taylor, who in conjunction with Auburn “mutually parted ways” last week after neither the men’s or women’s teams scored at the NCAA Championship meet.

Wochomurka is an Auburn alumnus who represented the school during its heyday in the mid-2000s. As an athlete, Wochomurka helped Auburn win three NCAA team titles in 2003, 2004, and 2005. He broke into coaching with a fast-rising Louisville program, rising to Associate Head Coach and Men’s Recruiting Coordinator.

He’s been with the University of Houston since 2015 – in fact, his hiring at Auburn comes on the exact day (April 23) that he was hired in Houston six years ago. When he took over, the Houston women were coming off of a 6th-place finish in their first season in the AAC. Houston was 6th again in Wochomurka’s first year, then rose to 3rd in 2016 and won the next five conference titles.

Just under three years ago, Auburn hired Taylor away from NC State. Taylor took over for former head coach Brett Hawkewho had coached the Auburn Tigers for a decade before resigning in the spring of 2018.

During Taylor’s tenure, the Auburn men placed 40th at NCAAs in 2019 and didn’t score in 2021. The Auburn women were 12th in 2019, but did not score in 2021. At SECs, the men were 8th out of 10 programs in 2019, 2020, and in 2021. The women were 6th of 12 programs in 2019, 5th of 12 in 2020, and 9th of 12 in 2021. Both programs also had multiple athletes in the NCAA transfer portal: at least 5 men and 4 women from the Auburn program were in the portal this season.

Auburn is the fourth SEC program with a coaching change this offseason. Coley Stickels resigned at Alabama midway through the season, with Ozzie Quevedo finishing out the season and Margo Geer taking over next season. South Carolina moved on from McGee Moody in a mutual agreement, hiring away Florida women’s head coach Jeff Poppell to fill the spot. That caused Florida to re-combine its men’s and women’s programs under men’s head coach Anthony Nesty.

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This Guy
5 months ago

Great hire! Congrats!

Calbearfan
5 months ago

Great hire. Auburn needed someone with head coaching experience and he did well at Houston.

Old Swim Coach
5 months ago

Great choice!

Swimgeek
5 months ago

Good hire – This made way too much sense to not happen (especially bc Gangloff probably likes his situation at UNC too much to leave). I hope this works out

Swammer2009
5 months ago

War Eagle! Congrats coach! Looking forward to seeing Auburn re build their team/culture & become a competitive threat at NCAAs again.

Team Woch...
5 months ago

Can someone give me an honest answer about this hire? Because people were saying similar things after we hired Gary Taylor. Is Woch really someone who can get Auburn back into the NCAA ranks? How was his competition at Houston in the AAC? What kind of results should we expect in his first season…top 5 at SEC’s?

Admin
Reply to  Team Woch...
5 months ago

He qualified more swimmers for the 2020 NCAA Championships than the Auburn men did.

So I’m not sure that “his competition was weaker in the AAC” necessarily undercuts him.

The only dig on his resume is he hasn’t been the head coach of a combined-gender program, which is a very different level of responsibility from a single gender program. That’s the unknown.

Team Woch...
Reply to  Braden Keith
5 months ago

Thank you for the response.

I mean, comparing anyone to either Auburn men’s or women’s teams this year would make he/she look like a better coach. I’m curious if he can get Auburn back into the top 5 at SEC’s and eventually top 5 at NCAA’s.

This Guy
Reply to  Team Woch...
5 months ago

He also coached at Louisville for 8 years during the crucial part of their program turnaround

Sarcastic
Reply to  Team Woch...
5 months ago

His results at the championships are also going to depend if kids stay and give it a year. If they all transfer, well, first year will be rough.

Swim Fan
Reply to  Sarcastic
5 months ago

Hopefully some of the 18 athletes that quit under Gary and the current coaching staff come back.

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Swim Fan
5 months ago

Yep. Always want the quitters.

Swim Fan
Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
5 months ago

yeah you do! There are 2 NCAA qualifiers in the portal right now: Abbey Webb and Averee Preble. And then a bunch of SEC champs team members. These athletes couldn’t keep swimming under Gary’s regime but if they haven’t completely lost their love of swimming yet they would be assets to the team.

M d e
Reply to  Swim Fan
5 months ago

Abbey Webb recently swam at the Australian Championships. I wouldn’t say she was incredible or anything, but she was dropping solid swims, Aus open final level or thereabouts.

Team Woch...
Reply to  Sarcastic
5 months ago

His first order of business needs to be keeping the incoming recruiting class together and insuring that no additional swimmers transfer.

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Team Woch...
5 months ago

I’d first go to that John Deere place. Hot deals this time of year.

OldHilltopper
Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
5 months ago

Anyone else notice that recruiting has gone down at Auburn since the closing of the War Eagle Supper Club. Was there at NCAA’s and I’m a card holding member.

Auburn '68
Reply to  OldHilltopper
5 months ago

I lost my card that was issued the first year the club opened (1964)! Wonder if I can still get through the door? LOL

Teri
Reply to  Team Woch...
5 months ago

He’s outstanding. My daughter swam for him for 4 years at Houston. The program Is lucky to get him. My daughter was not the fastest on the team and still loved every second and finally achieved some success her senior year. The journey was worth it. Just look at his progress over his time there. His achievements speak for themselves. Just hands down a great coach.

Samulih
Reply to  Team Woch...
5 months ago

Nobody knows, two great recruits make their mark or some current team members react positively to new training regime with great results or too many transfer and years of rebuilding ahead. ….

taco guy
Reply to  Team Woch...
4 months ago

none – it’s whatever the $$$$$ says. AD not involved. Takes a directive from the President. President takes a directive from the $$$$$$$$$$ (alumni donors). which one of you doesn’t know this??

taco guy
Reply to  taco guy
4 months ago

forgot to mention…….who is the biggest donor??????? hey dumb dumbs, follow the money in life……….always!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! talent/skill/coaching ability never relevant!!!

Mark Johnson
5 months ago

“The Diesel” returns to AU. Congrats Wocho and WDE!!

RDW
5 months ago

Great choice.

Side note it’s fun to go back and look at the comments on the article announcing Taylor as the head coach. Interesting with hindsight, especially with how Sergio has looked at VT so far.

https://swimswam.com/auburn-to-name-nc-states-gary-taylor-as-new-head-coach/

Observer
Reply to  RDW
5 months ago

Sergio didn’t do Gary any favors by taking Gonzalez and Ivanovo

Ohio swim observer
Reply to  RDW
5 months ago

Good point – I want to know what Jules Verne thinks (see his previous post – he called it)

SwimPop
Reply to  RDW
5 months ago

Oof, a lot of those comments did not age well.

Team Woch...
Reply to  SwimPop
5 months ago

Yeah, that’s why I wanted to see on here how good a hire this really is because after a new HC is hired at a P5 program, it’s easy to make positive comments like you see in the Gary Taylor story…and how did that work out?

Swim Fan
Reply to  Team Woch...
5 months ago

At least Ryan has proven track record of being a great Head Coach of a program. Gary does not have the social skills to be a head coach, and we didn’t know that because he had no experience.

Look at all of Ryan’s athletes giving glowing review of him. This was the right call.

Last edited 5 months ago by Swim Fan
CoachClassy
Reply to  Swim Fan
5 months ago

What social skills does one need to be a head coach? Know both Gary and Ryan: same demeanor, expectations, and good family men. Only difference I know is Gary is more outgoing and personable, Ryan more quite and reserved. Either qualities can be seen as strong and scary to a college athlete.

War dang
Reply to  CoachClassy
5 months ago

I wouldn’t classify Gary as personable. Every interaction I’ve had with him was strange, wouldn’t make eye contact with me, others have expressed the same. A head coach needs to be able to effectively communicate his or her vision, be approachable, and emotionally intelligent.

Samulih
Reply to  War dang
5 months ago

First you say something about his eye contact and go straight to some vision…. So you have nothing to comment.

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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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