Cleveland State Head Coach Resigns One Week Before Conference Meet

Just one week before the Horizon League Championships, Cleveland State Head Coach Paul Graham has resigned from his position. We reached out to CSU, and received a response from the University confirming that Graham has resigned, but no details regarding the circumstances of the resignation were provided. The response also included that Kevin Rapien has been named as the acting head coach. The Horizon League Championships are set to begin next Wednesday, February 13th, and will be held at IUPUI.

Graham became the head coach in May of 2014, and in his almost 5 years in the position he saw a lot of success in building the program, particularly with the women’s team. In 2018, CSU’s women came in 3rd at the HL Championships, just 7 points behind 2nd place, even though they were picked to finish just 6th in the preseason poll. On top of that, the 3rd place finish comes after finishing 5th in 2017, and 7th in 2016. In the 2017-2018 season, CSU’s women also broke school records in 9 events. Graham was named the 2017-2018 Horizon League Women’s Coach of the Year for his efforts.

Graham also saw success with the men’s team, leading them to runner-up finishes at the HL Championships in 2016, 2017, and 2018. He was named HL Men’s Coach of the Year for the 2015-2016 season. In the 2016-2017 season, senior Phillipp Sikatzki was the highest placing finisher in the 100 fly (20th) at NCAAs that did not come from a Power Five school.

Before Cleveland State, Graham was the head coach at Ashland University. In his 14 years there, Ashland finished in the top 20 at Division II NCAAs all 14 years.

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I believe it centers around team code of conduct violations by the swimmers. Funny though, only the ‘b’ team swimmers are having their end of year meet taken away, not the ‘a’ team swimmers who are being allowed to go the Horizon League Championships.


Resignation needed for this one…can’t wait for more on this story to come up for the public to see what a selfish and cheating guy he was

John P

Selfish and cheating- Just throwing out words or do have more information?


The swimming world is smaller than people seem to think. I wouldn’t use strong words if they weren’t needed.


Swimming world is indeed small. I’ve been told the story, and it’s not good. I’ve met the coaching staff, and was very impressed with Kevin, the team will be good under his leadership, perhaps better.


Have you heard anymore, as you have been told the story? Will the team be at the conference meet? Are there any suspended swimmers that won’t be there?


Do you think those decisions have been made already by all entities that have oversee issues like this?


Yes team is still going, and as a parent of a swimmer there, we have no idea what is going on. Waiting to hear what this has been all about.

Daniel Smith

So far nothing in papers….truth will out eventually. In reveiwing news items from Cleveland State, it appears they’ve had some coaching turnover the past year or two….and the AD left in November, 2018. Much more to the story, I believe.

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