Former Florida State head coach Neil Harper has accepted the head coaching position on the Aiken-Augusta Swim League based out of Augusta, Georgia. He will replace Adam Byars, who left the program this fall to take an assistant coaching job at Arizona.
Harper was the head coach at Florida State for 14 seasons, and was the ACC Coach of the Year in 2004, 2006, and 2007.
He was very excited about the job when we spoke to him this afternoon. “I’m very excited about this next opportunity. Augusta is a great place to live. It’s a real family atmosphere, and the club there has a lot of potential. It’s a great opportunity for me, and I’m excited to get back to my roots with club swimming.”
Harper has one daughter Katherine who will be a freshman at Montreat College this year, where she will play volleyball, and another daughter Kelly, also a volleyball player, who is in high school.
The Aiken-Augusta Swim League has produced its fair share of Division I swimmers in the last decade. That includes Georgia Tech NCAA qualifier Eric Chiu, 2013 Harvard freshman Steven Kekacs who medaled at the Ivy League Championships, and Texas A&M sophomore Katherine Huff. 13-14 Audrey Robinson is the star of the current class, having been 1:07 in the 100 yard breaststroke already.
Harper, through his work, has been on deck at two Olympic Games coaching different countries, including seeing his former swimmer Stephen Parry earn bronze in the 200 fly at the 2004 Olympics. He and his wife Paige Busch were both All-Americans and SEC Champions at LSU. Harper won 7 All-American awards as a swimmer, was a senior during LSU’s only SEC Team Championship, and was a two-time Olympian for Great Britain in 1984 and 1988.
Previous coaching roles include two years as the women’s head coach at Ohio State in the late 90’s, an assistant position under Don Gibb at Florida State from 1994-1997, and an assistant position at LSU.