The Ball State women’s swim team was informed on Wednesday that head coach Kristy Patterson will not be returning to the team next season after her contract wasn’t renewed. Patterson had been the head coach for the last 6 seasons.
The move comes 2 months after the retirement of head men’s swimming coach Bob Thomas, and clears the way for the school’s plans to combine the programs under a single head coach.
Patterson came to Ball State after a decade as an assistant at her alma mater Akron from 2003-2012, where she also served as an assistant lecturer. As an athlete, she was a two-year team captain and four-year letter winner while setting school records in the 100 breaststroke, 200 breaststroke, 100 freestyle, and as part of 4 relays.
Ball State has finished last in the Mid-American Conference (MAC) Championship standings in each of the last 5 seasons. In Patterson’s first year leading the program, they were 7th out of 8 teams, but haven’t placed better than 8th since. Ball State has been in the conference’ bottom 3 every season since placing 4th in 2005.
Her time with the Cardinals began promisingly: the team broke school records in 12 swimming events in her first two seasons as head coach combined, some of which had previously stood for more than 20 years. They haven’t broken any since 2014, however, as the program has flat-lined athletically in the last 4 seasons.
The team did excel in the classroom, however. Last season, they placed a conference-best 16 athletes on the Academic All-MAC team, led by sophomores Sophie Bader and Anne Vormohr with perfect 4.0 GPAs, and in the 2016-2017 season the team had a cumulative GPA of 3.65, earning CSCAA Scholar All-America honors.
We have reached out to Ball State and Patterson to ask about the move, but they have not responded. Ball State recently announced Beth Goetz as the school’s new Director of Athletics.