BREAKING: Eric Hansen Resigns as Head Coach of Arizona Swim Teams

  51 Braden Keith | January 21st, 2014 | College, News, Pac-12

There is finally some closure out of the University of Arizona today, as the school has officially announced that former head men’s & women’s swimming & diving coach Eric Hansen has resigned from his position.

In news first in to SwimSwam, we have learned today from a University spokesperson that the team was told this afternoon of the decision, which clears up much, but not all, of the questions that have swirled since Hansen took a leave of absence on October 22, 2013 for undisclosed reasons. Several rumors have swirled about what caused Hansen’s leave, but we were unable to substantiate any from reliable sources. Hansen hasn’t responded to several requests for contact over the last three months. The school didn’t provide any further information as to the reasons for the leave of absence, and swimmers were not given any more details in their team meeting today either.

“I have decided to resign my position as head swimming and diving coach at Arizona,” Hansen said in a statement released through Arizona. “After taking a leave from the program in October, I came to the decision that it would be best for me to step down and pursue other interests. I want to thank athletics director Greg Byrne and the current athletic administration for the opportunity I was given.”

Hansen was an assistant for the Wildcats from 1996-1999, at which point he left to take over as the head coach of Wisconsin. He returned to Tucson, from where he earned his Master’s Degree, in the 2011-2012 season to become the head coach after Frank Busch took over as the USA Swimming National Team Director. There were several transfers, both into and out of his program, in two-plus seasons, though it was at a rate not totally inconsistent than most head coaching changes (see places like Virginia for other recent examples).

“I want to thank Eric for serving as Arizona’s head swimming and diving coach,” said Byrne. “Although Eric will no longer serve as head coach, he remains very supportive of Arizona swimming and diving, and we thank him for his service to the program. Associate head coach Rick Demont will serve as interim head coach until a new head coach is named. We plan to open the position and conduct a national search. I’m confident we will find an excellent head coach to lead our swimming and diving program.”

In Hansen’s second full year at Arizona the 2012-2013 season, his women’s team finished 5th at the NCAA Championships, including NCAA titles by Margo Geer in both the 50 and 100 yard freestyles; and his men finished 2nd, including American and NCAA Record-crushing performances by breaststroker Kevin Cordes.

Associate Head Coach Rick DeMont will continue providing leadership to the program, as he has done since Hansen took his leave of absence, and Omar Ojeda remains as the head diving coach. Demont has now for the first time, however, been given the interim title.

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51 Comments on "BREAKING: Eric Hansen Resigns as Head Coach of Arizona Swim Teams"

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Seth Pepper

Rick DeMont made me the person that I am today. When I came to The University of Arizona, I was a no-name kid from a small town. “Rocket” allowed me to become a Two-Time National Champion and Hall of Fame Inductee at the University of Arizona. If I was a young swimmer anywhere in the world, I would hop on the next plane, and beat a path to his doorstep. There is no other person on the planet that I would rather be my swim coach, than Rick “The Rocket” DeMont.

Seth Pepper

And then, Rick DeMont took my younger brother Martin Pepper into his program — Marty only started swimming at the age of 16 and has a completely different personality and way of the life — and again allowed him to become a National Champion and Inductee into The University of Arizona Hall of Fame. The proof is in the performance.

Seth Pepper
Rocky LaRose (retired deputy director of athletics) just gave me the news: “It’s done! Rocket is named!” Wow, what a relief. The program is in the best of hands. Congratulations to The DeMont Family. And to all of those future athletes that will be blessed with The Rocket being their Coach, their Mentor, and their Friend! Earlier in the week Carrie DeMont let me know that they really appreciated everyone’s support: “It is all so kind. I know Rick feels like the right thing will happen! Whatever that looks like! Even if he is not the guy, life will go on and amazing things will happen. I know he wants this, but as always, remains humble.” The University of Arizona’s… Read more »

cougar- when i first heard frank’s son took the head coach job at UVA, i thought for sure this meant frank would be moving to charlottesville. i’ve never had anyone else believe me on that. i’m not sure if i believe it as much now as i did in july, but still, i like your theory there

Cougar Strong?

Is that the same commitment that he made the the University of Houston?? Or now it’s cool, he means it this time?

I tend to think you’re right. This whole thing is set up for his dad to come in after Rio and become a “volunteer assistant” and have a #teambusch party 24/7. I think it would be too awkward for that party to move back to Arizona.

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About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

The most common question asked about Braden Keith is "when does he sleep?" That's because Braden has, in two years in the game, become one of the most prolific writers in swimming at a level that has earned him the nickname "the machine" in some circles. He first got his feet …

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