East Carolina Assistant Riley Hilbrandt Named Head Swimming And Diving Coach Of Illinois State

Riley Hilbrandt has been named head swimming and diving coach for Division I Illinois State University after most recently spending time at East Carolina.

“We are thrilled to welcome Riley to Illinois State and look forward to her leadership of the Redbird swimming and diving program,” Illinois State Interim Athletic Director Dr. Jeri Beggs said. “Riley brings passion and enthusiasm with her from East Carolina and a wealth of experience at various levels of swimming. She is an energetic leader, who brings out the best in her student-athletes and fellow coaches. Riley is a great fit for our program, and we look forward to having her on campus very soon.”

“I would like to thank Dr. Jeri Beggs, Leanna Bordner, Paul Kabbes, Cindy Harris and the entire Redbird athletic community for this amazing opportunity,” Hilbrandt said. “I am beyond grateful for all the members of the athletic department for putting their trust in me to lead Redbird swim and dive. This program has had decades of success and been one of the top teams in the Missouri Valley Conference. To be a part of that tradition and community is something I will not take lightly. I promise to bring enthusiasm, grit, and the utmost dedication to assist these student-athletes compete at an elite level both in the pool and classroom.

Hilbrandt most recently spent time at East Carolina University as an assistant coach for three seasons. Hilbrandt assisted in recruiting notably bringing in 16 athletes to the program for the 2022-2023 season, helping grow the roster after the program was originally cut and then reinstated during the pandemic.

Prior to her time at ECU, Hilbrandt was an assistant coach at Division II Clarion University in Pennsylvania for two seasons. Before arriving at Clarion, Hilbrandt spent a season with Division III Wooster College as an assistant coach.

Hilbrandt began her coaching career at her alma mater, Nevada-Reno as a volunteer assistant in the 2017-2018 season. She graduated from Nevada in 2017 after swimming there for four seasons, primarily as a breaststroker. She graduated with an undergraduate degree in public health and is currently pursuing a master’s in Kinesiology.

The Illinois State women finished 4th out of nine teams this past season at the 2024 Missouri Valley Conference Championships. Rising senior Emma Feltzer led the way with 81 individual points and was highlighted by a conference title as she won the 100 freestyle in a personal best time of a 49.33. Madyson Morse was the team’s 2nd highest individual scorer with 75 individual points but Morse will not return next fall as she just finished her fifth-year.

The Redbirds were led by interim head coach Sean Sullivan this past season as former head coach Caitlin Hamilton left the program in August to become the new associate head coach of Kentucky.

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1 month ago

A shame not to see Sean Sullivan take the reins

Dave Collins
1 month ago

If I were a coach with an opening, I would strongly consider hiring Sean Sullivan! Watched him closely this year and was very impressed. He has a bright future.

Canaan Campbell
Reply to  Dave Collins
1 month ago

I totally second this Coach!!!

Caroline Stanek
Reply to  Dave Collins
1 month ago

Third this! Working with him at WUGS this summer we could definitely tell he is a coach on the rise! A team will be lucky to have him!!

B + B + B + F
Reply to  Dave Collins
1 month ago

I agree with you. He’s incredibly knowledgeable, passionate and talented. He will be an excellent asset to any program.

1 month ago

For the sake of the ISU athletes I hope the revolving door stops spinning for a few seasons.

B + B + B + F
Reply to  swimdad
1 month ago

With no disrespect to the new coach, the ISU made a grave error in judgement with this decision.

Douglass Wharrram Fan Club
1 month ago

The Mid Major Way
Step 1 – Lose a coach, make assistant interim, pay them less money
Step 2 – Scrap interim, although the transition for the year was good for the well-being of the current student athletes
Step 3 – ???
Step 4 – Hire someone totally random, still profit with paying them less

Reply to  Douglass Wharrram Fan Club
1 month ago

Or you could have Peter Linn for the better part of 40 years and grow into one of the best Men’s mid major program in NCAA history. Drop the mens program but let him coach a women’s breaststroker to multiple NCAA top 4 finishes. Watch him walk out the door and now EMU fields a women’s program trending toward the basement of the MAC. Unfortunately it is becoming harder and harder for club coaches to find mid major programs to send kids (especially boys) to where they can continue to develop.

Reply to  Bull
1 month ago

And now WILL finish last at MAC’s next year after moving on from Buck Smith as Diving Coach. Good luck Buck. EMU certainly seems scared of greatness!

1 month ago

Pretty harsh not to take Coach Sullivan after he did an excellent job leading the team this past season as interim.

That being said, Riley is a great coach and I’m sure she will do a phenomenal job!

1 month ago

Congratulations Riley and Illinois State, great hire!

About Anya Pelshaw

Anya Pelshaw

Anya has been with SwimSwam since June 2021 as both a writer and social media coordinator. She was in attendance at the 2022 and 2023 Women's NCAA Championships writing and doing social media for SwimSwam. Currently, Anya is pursuing her B.A. in Economics and a minor in Government & Law at …

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