DIII Rowan University’s Tony Lisa Retires After 35 Years of Coaching

GLASSBORO, NJ  – Rowan University’s Tony Lisa has announced that he is retiring as the men’s and women’s swimming and diving coach on June 30 after coaching for 35 years.
“This is difficult leaving the position of swim coach at Rowan University,” said Lisa.  “I feel like it is the only thing I have done my entire adult life.  Glassboro State/Rowan University has been my home for 48 years.  I have grown up here as a person and a professional.”
He finished his career with a combined won-loss record of 469-155-1 and a 75.1 winning percentage.  Lisa compiled a 265-90-1 mark as the men’s coach in 35 seasons.  As the women’s coach, he had a 204-65 record for 26 campaigns.  In his last season, the men’s team finished 10-1 overall and the women had a 9-2 mark.     
“I am excited for our team and the university with the prospect of bringing in a new young coach,” continued Lisa.  “The team is very strong and will compete well for championships next year.  Watching the new coach take this team to a higher level will bring a big smile to my face.”
Lisa had two coaching stints with the Profs.  He returned to the University in 2009-2010 after two years as an assistant swim coach and recruiting coordinator at the U.S. Military Academy.  Previously, he had coached at Rowan for 30 years.
“I am so appreciative of those who hired me as a professor, Coach Richard Wackar and Mickey Briglia, and then told me that I was the swim coach,” commented Lisa.  “Even though I had never swam or even been to a swim meet.  I am thankful that my colleagues at Rowan have always been so supportive of my team, family and me.  In addition, I am thankful that the parents sent their children here and allowed me to coach them.”

In 2003, Lisa received the Richard E. Steadman Award from the College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA).  He was the 12th recipient of the award.  The Richard E. Steadman Award is conferred annually to a swimming or diving coach in high school, club or university ranks who, in the opinion of the International Swimming Hall of Fame, Inc. and the CSCAA Forum, has done the most to spread joy and happiness in swimming and diving.  Lisa was the assistant coach for the silver medal winning World All-Stars at the 2001 Goodwill Games in Brisbane, Australia.  He was also the assistant coach for the World All-Stars at the 2001 World Sprint Cup.

The women’s team captured nine consecutive New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) titles from 1991 to 1999.  Lisa was named the NJAC Women’s Coach of the Year four consecutive times from 1994 to 1997.  He was also selected Women’s Coach of the Year at the 1998 Metropolitan Championships.

Lisa guided three athletes to NCAA Division III Championships, Teri Hatcher in the women’s 100 breaststroke (1:06.07 in 1994, 1:05.85 in 1996), Craig Naylor in the men’s 400 individual medley (4:01.52 in 1992) and Christie Raleigh in the women’s 100 freestyle (49.94 in 2012).  The women recorded seventh place finishes at the NCAA Championships in 1995 and 1996, while the men were ninth in 1992 and 1996.  His teams are recognized annually on the Academic All-America squads.
Lisa is a past president of the CSCAA, which includes all swim teams from NCAA Division I, II and III, NAIA and junior colleges.  He served as the organization’s president from 1998-2001.  Prior to the position, he was a member of the CSCAA board of directors.

In addition, Lisa is a member of the Gloucester County and Salem County Sports Hall of Fames.  He graduated from Glassboro State College, now Rowan University, in 1975 and later received
his master’s in 1978.  Lisa was a goalkeeper on the Profs’ soccer team for three years.  He is a 1966 graduate of Pennsville Memorial High School.

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Brad Flood
8 years ago

Congratulations and Best Wishes to a happy, fulfilling and long retirement Tony. It’s been a great honor and privledge to share the deck with you at conference championships the past 10 years.

Thank You also for your selfless and dedicated contributions to CSCAA as Board President, Divisional Rep & of course most importantly, as the incomperable and unmatchable Master of Ceremonies for the annual CSCAA Awards Banquet!

You have left your indelible mark on our sport and it is an excellent example for all of us to strive to follow.

Connor Ploski
8 years ago

My name is Connor Ploski and Tony Lisa was my first swim coach as well as the best I have had. I swam under Tony at TNT during the winters as well as Greenwood Park durning the summers. Now I was never the best swimmer on the team, or anywhere close to it, and I was always the odd man out on the A relay. Though I was not as good as the others that I have swam with such as Brendan McHugh, Colin McHugh, Camryn McHugh Anthony Solitro, Dino Buffetta, Matt Mills, and Connor Shenk, Tony never gave up on me. The mind set I needed to drop times was not there yet so I just went through and… Read more »

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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