DURHAM, N.C. – Duke University head swimming and diving coach Dan Colella has announced the addition of Doak Finch to the coaching staff. Previously an assistant coach for the Penn State men’s and women’s swimming programs, Finch joins the Blue Devil staff as an assistant coach beginning Sept. 5.
“I have known Doak Finch for over 12 years and have always been incredibly impressed with his coaching ability and style,” Colella said. “You can see that he is able to really connect with his athletes and that there is an enormous amount of respect for him from those athletes, so I am thrilled to have him joining our staff. He has an amazing history of athletic excellence as both an athlete and a coach, most of that experience here in the ACC .
“As we continue to grow and develop as a program he will only enhance the student-athlete’s experience both in and out of the pool. We look forward to his arrival and to how he is going to positively impact this program.”
Finch comes to Durham after spending three seasons in State College. During that time, he helped guide the Nittany Lion women to top-25 finishes at the 2014, 2015 and 2016 NCAA Championships, and the men to top-25 showings at the national meet in 2014 and 2015. As the program’s long group coach, Finch directed his athletes to six individual school records. His responsibilities included writing daily practices, designing seasonal training plans, serving as the team’s academic liaison and assisting with all aspects of recruiting.
Prior to his tenure with the Nittany Lions, Finch spent the previous 12 seasons as an assistant at the University of Virginia, primarily overseeing the distance swimmers. Under his watch, the Cavaliers’ distance group had a standout 2012-13 season, with Kelly Offutt sweeping the women’s distance events at the ACC Championship and Brad Phillips and Jan Daniec adding individual titles in the 500 and 1,650-yard freestyle.
The Virginia men and women took home six straight ACC crowns from 2008-13, while the men went on to place top 10 at NCAAs three times in that span (2009, 2010, 2011) and the women once (2010).
Finch also served as the Cavaliers’ middle distance and stroke group coach from 2001-06, during which time the men’s program won six consecutive ACC championships and the women captured two in 2003 and 2004.
In addition to his coaching duties at Virginia, Finch was involved in all aspects of recruiting and served as assistant camp director, coach and counselor for Virginia Swim Camps.
Finch also boasts coaching experience at the national level with USA Swimming, overseeing athletes who qualified for the 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials.
An All-America performer during his own collegiate career, Finch starred for the Cavaliers from 1996 to 2000. During his sophomore, junior and senior years, he was selected team captain and was one of the team’s top butterfly and individual medley swimmers. He was named to the ACC’s 50th Anniversary Men’s Swimming and Diving Team in August of 2002, and remains ranked among the top 10 on Virginia’s all-time top performance list in the 200 butterfly.
Finch concluded his career at Virginia as an 11-time NCAA All-American and an 11-time ACC event champion, capturing eight ACC titles as an individual and three as a member of Cavalier relays. He was named the 1997 ACC Rookie of the Year and MVP of the 1998 ACC Championship meet. He became the 14th individual to win four consecutive ACC titles in the same event in 2000 (400 IM).
Finch placed seventh at the 2000 U.S. Olympic Trials in the 200 butterfly, and also represented the United States at the 1999 World University Games in Palma, Spain, where he finished sixth in the 200 butterfly.
A native of Southern Pines, N.C., Finch graduated from Virginia in 2000 with a bachelor’s degree in economics.
“I would like to thank Mitch Moser and Dan Collela for this amazing opportunity,” Finch said. “Growing up in North Carolina, I have admired Duke University and their athletic teams since I was young and I am thrilled to be joining the Duke family. I would also like to thank Jenn James, Tim Murphy and the Penn State team for all their time and work both in and out of the pool the past three years. Happy Valley will always hold a special place in my heart and I wish you the best in the future.”
This swimming story is courtesy of Duke University.