Former U.S. National Team Director Mark Schubert Announces Retirement

Former U.S. National Team Director Mark Schubert told his staff at the Mission Viejo Nadadores that he was retiring from coaching on Thursday morning. It was announced to the team later in the afternoon.

Schubert is planning to stay on with the club until December, and the club says that a search for a new head coach has begun.

Schubert has been one of the most recognizable figures on pool deck at USA Swimming competitions for nearly five decades, holding the role of National Team Director from 2006 until 2010 and also serving on eight consecutive U.S. Olympic team staffs from 1980 until 2008 (though the Americans ultimately did not attend in 1980).

Schubert has most recently served as the head coach of the Mission Viejo Nadadores since 2016, the same club he got his start with from 1972 until 1985.

In late August it was announced that Schubert was resigning from his position on the American Swimming Coaches Association (ASCA) Board of Directors one year early, citing “personal reasons.”

During his first stint in Mission Viejo, Schubert coached a small army of Olympians that included Shirley Babashoff, Brian Goodell, Mike O’Brien, Sippy Woodhead and Dara Torres, winning 44 national team titles and multiple ASCA Coach of the Year awards.

He then moved to the Mission Bay Makos Swim Team in Florida for a few years before jumping into collegiate coaching, leading the University of Texas women to a pair of NCAA team titles in 1990 and 1991. He followed up by coaching the University of Southern California women to their first-ever national title in 1997.

During Schubert’s career, his swimmers won 49 individual NCAA titles to go along with a trio of team titles.

At the Olympics, Schubert was first named an assistant coach of the combined men’s and women’s teams in 1980, and after serving as an assistant at the next two Games, he was named the head women’s coach in 1992 after his back-to-back NCAA titles in Austin. He was again an assistant in 1996 before being named head men’s coach in 2000 and head women’s coach in 2004.

Along with the swimmers he coached to the Olympics while at Mission Viejo, Schubert also led names such as Brad Bridgewater, Janet EvansLindsay BenkoLenny KrayzelburgKlete KellerErik Vendt, Jessica Hardy, Larsen Jensen, Ous Mellouli and Kaitlin Sandeno to the Games.

In total, Schubert’s athletes have won at least 20 Olympic medals (including 12 gold medals), broken at least 21 World Records, and broken at least 97 American Records.

After leaving USC in 2006 to take over as National Team Director, Schubert took a paid leave of absence from the role in September 2010 before ultimately being terminated from the position.

Schubert and USA Swimming signed a nondisclosure agreement as part of the settlement. According to a report from the OC Register in 2018, the late Chuck Wielgus, former USA Swimming CEO, said in a deposition that Schubert was terminated for “erratic behavior,” particularly at the 2010 Pan Pacific Championship in Irvine.

Schubert went on to become the CEO and head coach at Golden West Swim Club in California before landing at Mission Viejo again five years ago.

While at Golden West Swim Club Schubert got into a legal scuffle after a former Golden West coach, Dia Rianda, sued him for wrongful termination, saying she was fired after she complained to USA Swimming about inappropriate behavior by a different coach, Bill Jewell. Jewell was eventually banned by USA Swimming for three years, and the suit between Rianda and Schubert was settled out of court.

In 2016, Schubert succeeded longtime Nadadore head coach Bill Rose, who announced his retirement earlier that year. The club is currently interviewing to hire an executive director to oversee all of their programs, including swimming, diving and water polo.

Some of the prominent swimmers who have represented Mission Viejo in recent years include 2020 U.S. Olympians Michael BrinegarZach AppleHaley Anderson and Annie Lazor, along with 2021-22 U.S. National Teamers Will Gallant and David Heron, though in some of those cases, the representation did not reflect the athletes’ regular training sites.

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Hector Jose Gonzalez-Pereira
7 months ago

And Jesse Vassallo!

Dynamite
7 months ago

I’d also like to say that Janet Evans was coached by Bud McAllister in 1988 when she first made the Olympic team, broke world records and swam her fastest times.
So to group her in with Schubert’s Olympians is a stretch. All Janet had to do was get back in the water and start training. I am wondering however if her mother sat at the end of her lane at MV like she did at Fullerton?

HoosierEli
7 months ago

It’s unfortunate that we can’t simply wish someone well on their retirement.

My wife’s experience with Coach Schubert when she was in high school was so good that we sent our son halfway across the country to swim for him while my son was in high school and he now returns to swim with Coach Schubert each summer still. Those that know me know that I am very protective of my sons, but I couldn’t imagine entrusting my youngest son with another coach. Coach Schubert has always had my son’s best interest at heart with decisions that he has made and recommended.

I realize that our experience isn’t everyone’s, but I wanted to be sure to point out that Coach… Read more »

Dynamite
Reply to  HoosierEli
7 months ago

He’s also allowed coach-swimmer, swimmer-swimmer abuse to go on, and has done nothing about it. Ask your sweetie what she used to do to younger swimmers who would speak up about being abused
when she swam there.

Cynthia curran
Reply to  Dynamite
7 months ago

Bill Jewell am uncertain about what happen at Golden West since I have no information on that. Well, I did swim a year for Bill Jewell when he coach his first team at Newport Beach back in the 1970’s. No problems when he coached at Newport Beach but that was a different era and statements in the 1970’s would be consider different than the 2,000’s.

Dynamite
Reply to  Cynthia curran
7 months ago

I’m sorry but people keep saying it was a different time, when talking about all sorts of abuse back in the 70’s, 80’s early 90’s
Abuse, is Abuse, is Abuse.
Anyone that needs to use – it was a different time to justify their own actions or the actions of others- clearly need help.
One of they worst things you can do is to someone who’s been abused, is to not validate their experience. And giving the Abuser/s an excuse for what they did.
Who’s talking about Bill Jewel?

HoosierEli
Reply to  Dynamite
7 months ago

something personal here, dynamite? Anyone who knows my “sweetie” knows that she does not stand for abuse whether coach-swimmer, or swimmer-swimmer. She stands proudly with “Champion Women” and Nancy Hogshead-Makar in her opposition to bullying and abuse.

Dynamite
Reply to  HoosierEli
7 months ago

And they should take off their rose colored glasses. Just because she stands there doesn’t mean anything. I’d say guilt maybe, but not your sweetie.

Jennifer Hooker Brinegar
Reply to  Dynamite
7 months ago

I can tell you that no one was mentally, emotionally or physically abused when I was there. Did he yell at some or all of us on occasion? Yes. Did we deserve it? Yes. Different generation that didn’t fall apart if a coach pointed out where we were failing and/or could do better. Were we scared of him? I can’t speak for others, but I was … but it was a respectful fear. Once he learned that weigh-ins were detrimental to weight loss and could cause eating disorders, he stopped (this was when he coached in college). Does weight gain slow you down? Most likely if it’s mostly from bad eating habits. At that time, no one knew what we… Read more »

Dynamite
Reply to  Jennifer Hooker Brinegar
7 months ago

Jennifer Hooker Brenigar, I am so happy that you had such an amazing time swimming for Mark Schubert, you paint such a lovely picture of what everyones experience must have been. I’m really happy that he stopped weighing swimmers once he coached college swimming. Let’s see that was how many decades after he started coaching? And how many eating disorders do you think he caused up until that point? How many eating disorders do you think were caused by the coaches who coached with him? And when you were swimming with him- there wasn’t any bullying of swimmers who tried to advocate for themselves when they were being bullied or abused by other swimmers or coaches?
Jennifer the entire… Read more »

Swimsm
Reply to  Dynamite
7 months ago

Schubert has been an incredible coach and mentor to my daughter. I’m so thankful for everything he has done to help her succeed. She just finished college swimming this year, and he was her rock. He has always been there to help and support her. He’s inspired her to believe in herself and push herself to be the best athlete and person she could be. He’s strict and he makes his swimmers accountable, but he’s not unreasonable. Unfortunately, eating disorders are common with women in all sports. When my daughter was struggling with this, he made it very clear to her that she would not be able to swim if she didn’t put weight on. He explained that she couldn’t… Read more »

Don Wagner
7 months ago

Enjoy your retirement Mark. Make the most of your golden years and enjoy your family and your blessings!

Cynthia curran
7 months ago

I think the water polo program is more of a feeder program for the high school. What is popular is the Masters program.

Cynthia curran
7 months ago

The Mayor of JT in Mexico.

I_Said_It
7 months ago

A primatologist who studies sea monkeys

Swimmerfromjapananduk
7 months ago

Goku

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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