Coley Stickels Leaves Alabama after 18 Months; Will be Replaced by Margo Geer

The University of Alabama swimming and diving team announced in a press release on Monday that head coach Coley Stickels had resigned in order to focus on training athletes for the upcoming Olympic Games in Tokyo and other national and international competitions. Alabama has reached an agreement with Margo Geer who will take over the program as head coach after the 2021 Olympics, in which she is hoping to compete. In the interim, associate head coach Ozzie Quevedo will lead the men’s and women’s teams.

SwimSwam has reached out to the University of Alabama asking for more information about the timing of the resignation, or for insights into why Geer was chosen as the successor, but the school has not responded to that request.

“This was not an easy decision, but I’ve decided it is best to step down as head coach of the Alabama Swimming & Diving program,” said Stickels. “It’s been an honor to serve in this position at Alabama. After personal reflection, however, I need to reprioritize my time to concentrate on training athletes for national and international competition, including the upcoming Olympics. I wish the team all of the best going forward and know they are in good hands.”

Stickels arrived in Tuscaloosa in April 2019 from Indiana University, where he had been the associate head sprint coach for the Hoosiers. Prior to that, he was a club coach with Canyons Aquatic Club in California, training U.S. Olympian Abbey Weitzeil as a high schooler. Stickels coached the Crimson Tide during the 2019-20 season that was cut short because of the coronavirus pandemic, and has Alabama to 2 wins (LSU and Kentucky) and 2 losses (Tennessee and Virginia) so far this season. During his tenure, 24 student-athletes qualified for the 2020 NCAA Championships and 22 earned a cumulative 57 All-America honors. At the 2020 SEC Championships, Alabama broke 23 school records and earned a combined 15 medals, placing 4th in the men’s standings and 7th in the women’s.

Geer, a 2015 World Champion and four-time Pan American Games gold medalist, has been a volunteer assistant coach at Alabama. Her only other coaching experience is from the 2016–17 season when she was a volunteer assistant coach at Ohio State. Geer is currently training for the Tokyo Olympics. She was a three-time NCAA champion the University of Arizona, winning the 50 free in 2013 and the 100 free in 2013 and 2014. In 2015 she was named Pac-12 Woman of the Year and was a finalist for NCAA Woman of the Year. She plans to take over as Alabama’s next head coach at the conclusion of the 2021 Olympics.

Alabama’s athletics director Greg Byrne was the athletics director at the University of Arizona from 2010 through 2017. Geer was a swimmer there from 2010 through 2014.

The full announcement can be seen here:

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Coley Stickels has elected to resign from his position as head coach of the Alabama Swimming & Diving program to focus more of his attention on training athletes for Olympic and other national and international competitions.

“This was not an easy decision, but I’ve decided it is best to step down as head coach of the Alabama Swimming & Diving program,” said Stickels. “It’s been an honor to serve in this position at Alabama. After personal reflection, however, I need to reprioritize my time to concentrate on training athletes for national and international competition, including the upcoming Olympics. I wish the team all of the best going forward and know they are in good hands.”

Stickels joined the program in April of 2019, coaching all of the shortened 2019-20 season in addition to the fall portion of this year’s slate. Under his tutelage, a total of 24 student-athletes qualified for the 2020 NCAA Championships and 22 earned a total of 57 All-America honors. At the 2020 SEC Championships, Alabama broke 23 school records and earned a combined 15 medals.

Margo Geer, 2015 World Champion and four-time Pan American Games gold medalist, has been selected as the program’s next head coach. She will take the reins once her competitive career concludes as she is currently training for the 2021 Olympic Games. Geer, who also serves as a volunteer assistant coach for the Crimson Tide, is a 27-time All-American, winning three NCAA Championships while at Arizona and was the 2015 Pac-12 Woman of the Year and finalist for NCAA Woman of the Year. Associate head coach Ozzie Quevedo will serve as the interim head coach until completion of Geer’s swimming career.

All such employment contracts are subject to approval by The University of Alabama Board of Trustees.

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Lokiz
25 days ago

April Fools??

swimfan210_
Reply to  Lokiz
25 days ago

December 28th is April Fools in Mexico…

PEMC15
Reply to  swimfan210_
24 days ago

Risas!!!

SadRollTide
25 days ago

If only someone could have foreseen this imploding.

Muddy Waters
25 days ago

Wow, sounds like something went down? Weird timing right?

About Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant is the mother of four daughters, all of whom swim/swam in college. With an undergraduate degree from Princeton (where she was an all-Ivy tennis player) and an MBA from INSEAD, she worked for many years in the financial industry, both in France and the U.S. Anne is currently …

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