The coaching shuffle in Cambridge, Massachussetts this week has left two of the world’s great academic institutions with a nice, neat package, as the dominoes have tumbled perfectly into place for Harvard.
When Harvard head coach Tim Murphy took the head coaching job at Penn State, his assistant Kevin Tyrrell took the Harvard head coaching job. Now, Tyrrell has gone down the road to hire former MIT interim head coach Samantha Pitter as his new assistant. This is an incredibly unique situation, as Pitter is one of the few (only?) female coaches of a standalone men’s program in the country.
Pitter spent the 2012-2013 season as the acting head coach at MIT while Dawn Dill was on maternity leave. The program didn’t miss a beat, as the men’s program finished 3rd at the NCAA Division III Championships, their highest finish ever, and the women were 8th. She was also responsible for taking Wyatt Ubellacker to the Olympic Trials: the first ever MIT swimmer to reach that level.
That was the end of a 6-year run with the Engineers that began after ending her collegiate career at Hamilton College in 2007. While there, she earned four NCAA Division III All-American honors.
Other, simultaneous positions include coaching the Boston University Masters team and the Cambridge Masters Swim Club. While her coaching situation will be unique, it will not be unwarranted – she clearly demonstrated last year that female coaches can have incredible success with male swimmers at MIT, and that she’s got impressive coaching chops as well.
This is an impressive hire, both on a specific level and on a more global, cultural level.