Eastern Michigan Head Coach Peter Linn Retires After 31 Seasons

Peter Linn, the winningest coach in Easter Michigan University history, is retiring after 31 seasons at the helm of the swimming program (effective August 16), he told the team in an email.

“I learned to swim in an EMU pool in the basement of a building that has long since become a parking lot and attended middle school and high school on campus. All while watching the university establish a swimming program,” Linn wrote. “Now it is time to say good bye. My heart is filled with joys and regrets but no doubts. I have spent the greater portion of my adult life trying to build the best possible program at Eastern and it is simply not possible to describe my emotions as I step away. But I feel that this is the correct decision and that I have recognized the moment in which to make it.”

Linn attended EMU himself from 1969-74, and as a swimmer helped the team to a pair of NAIA team titles in 1970 and 1971, and the 1972 NCAA Division II Championship. He is the third-longest tenured coach in school history behind former track & field coach Bob Parks (33 years) and women’s gymnastics’ Steve Wilce (32 years).

He took over the men’s team ahead of the 1988-1989 season, leading it until it was cut from the school’s athletics programs last year. He has led the women’s team since the 2004-2005 season.

Under his watch, the Eagles accrued 26 Mid-American Conference Championships, including eight in a row from 1988-1996. For more than 19 seasons, the Linn’s team did not lose a MAC dual meet; he retires with an overall dual meet record of 308-101-1 (approximately a .75 winning percentage) and went 185-30 against MAC opponents.

Linn was the recipient of the 2018 National Collegiate and Scholastic Trophy from the College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association of America. That season, Delaney Duncan became the school’s first-ever female NCAA A-finalist, and she went on to place second at NCAAs in the 100 breast in 2019. In March of 2018, the school announced it would cut the men’s swim team as part of a plan to cut four teams that was expected to lead to a $2.4 million expense reduction, and caused a massive uproar in the swim community (both among people with ties to the school and not). Athletes attempted to raise enough funds to save the team through social media campaigns, but the school was adamant that it would not be enough.

Linn’s retirement creates the latest Division I head coaching vacancy in an NCAA offseason that has seen nonstop turnover. With just weeks to go until the 2019-2020 season begins, 10 openings still remain: Saint Francis, Old Dominion, West Point, Pacific, SMU, Wisconsin-Green Bay, Eastern Illinois, New Mexico, Valparaiso, and now, Eastern Michigan.

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2 years ago


2 years ago

Congratulations to Coach Linn, one of the BEST Coaches in the buisness!!! I have known Peter for more than 30 years and I have the upmost respect for all that he has accomplished during his coaching tenure as a HS, Club and College Coach. Enjoy the world Peter you have earned it.

2 years ago

Not only was Coach Linn was an amazing coach during his tenure at eastern, but he was a graduate of the men’s program as well. Coach dedicated his life to eastern, and I owe everything to him. I am eternally grateful to him for giving me the opportunity to swim for his program. Coach Linn is TruEMU.

Chris Ritter
2 years ago

Congrats on a great career Peter! He might be one of the “best coaches” that most coaches don’t know much about. Our conversation on the podcast was full of great nuggets for coaches. I loved his line in the interview, “I was enthusiastic but absolutely awful.”


2 years ago

Knowing EMU administration they probably took him to the president’s house in the grandest room possible and told him he was being fired. At least that is how they did it when cutting guys swim team.

2 years ago

What an awesome guy, all the best for your retirement Peter, you made a fantastic impression on our son in his time on the team before “the cut” and I’m sure many many others, a legend at EMU,!

Jimmy Tierney
2 years ago

Peter is a legend in coaching community. Thanks for all that you did for our sport Peter. Appreciate so much all that you have given.

NM Coach
2 years ago

I hate to see these types of announcements!

Peter, I hope you remain in coaching one way or another!

About Torrey Hart

Torrey Hart

Torrey is from Oakland, CA, and majored in media studies and American studies at Claremont McKenna College, where she swam distance freestyle for the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps team. Outside of SwimSwam, she has bylines at Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, SB Nation, and The Student Life newspaper.

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