The University of Hawaii has hired Mike Stephens as its new head men’s and women’s swimming & diving coach. Stephens comes to the program from Boston College, where he coached for nine seasons, including the last five as head coach.
In Stephens’ five seasons as head coach at Boston College, the Eagles set more than 170 school records, including 18 at the 2022 ACC Championships alone. The BC women finished 12th out of 12 teams and the BC men finished 11th out of 12 teams (ahead of the all-diving team from Miami) in a highly-competitive ACC, but the Eagles competed in that conference without any scholarships, putting them at a big disadvantage against their competition.
In 2021, Eagles junior Haley Dolan became the first Eagles swimmer to qualify for an individual event final at the ACC Championships in 14 years. She was also their first individual scorer at ACCs in 6 years.
Two weeks ago in Atlanta, they had 6 individual athletes qualify for finals, and another 3 score in the mile (which is a timed final).
His student-athletes have achieved 29 NCAA consideration times and zone diving scores, while three women swimmers qualified for the 2021 Olympic Trials. The trio were the first Boston College women to ever qualify for the Olympic Trials. Stephens also recently served as an assistant coach for the Barbados National Swim Team, coaching Alex Sobers in the Tokyo Olympics.
Stephens will try to bring stability to a Hawaii program that went through last season with Marcus Guttmann as interim head coach.
Ptasnik took over the program in summer 2019 when Dan Schemmel was hired away by Stanford to lead the men’s team. He kept the program’s success going, leading both the men’s and women’s team to MPSF conference titles in 2020. For the men, that included a conference-record 895.50 points.
The women won again in 2021, while the men fell to BYU. That extended the women’s title streak to 5.
In Guttmann’s interim year, the Hawaii women finished 2nd, with UCSD snapping the streak by a narrow 12.5 points. The Hawaii men slipped to 3rd place.
When Stephens was named the head coach of Boston College at just 26 years old, he became one of the youngest NCAA Division I head coaches in the modern era. Like he will have to do at Hawaii, Stephens cast a wide recruiting net at BC: the 2021-2022 roster had athletes from more than two dozen states, including Hawaii (freshman Noah Peters).
Boston College is his only coaching job, and he also swam for the program as a student. He graduated with the school record in the 200 medley relay and ranked in the top five all-time in the 100 and 200 breaststrokes. Stephens was a recipient of the Pawlak Award for Special Recognition in 2012 and the Conway Award for Outstanding Sophomore Swimmer in 2010. He also received the Leadership Award from the Athletic Department in 2011.
He graduated with a degree in finance in 2012 from Boston College and earned an MBA in 2016 with a focus on higher education leadership and developmental psychology.