Hollie Bonewit-Cron Named Head Swimming & Diving Coach At Penn State

A new era of swimming & diving at Penn State will commence next season as the university has announced Hollie Bonewit-Cron as the sixth head coach in program history.

Bonewit-Cron will join the Nittany Lions from Miami University (Ohio), where she’s been the head coach for the past eight seasons and brought the team to new heights with a wide array of success.

Bonewit-Cron will take over the position from Tim Murphy, who was fired in early April after being placed on unspecific leave midway through the season.

“I would like to first thank Dr. Kraft, Rhian Davis, Vinnie James, and the rest of the search committee at Penn State University,” said Bonewit-Cron.

“Their vision is very exciting and I am thrilled to lead the swimming and diving programs in their academic and athletic pursuits. This program has a history of success and I am looking forward to being part of the Nittany Lion family!”

During her time with the Redhawks, Bonewit-Cron became the first female head coach in Mid-American Conference (MAC) history to lead a men’s team to a conference title in 2019, as Miami rolled to their championship title in 13 years.

They’ve continued to be a dominant force in the MAC, winning four consecutive conference titles from 2021 to 2024, with Bonewit-Cron winning MAC Men’s Swimming Coach of the Year honors all four seasons (and in 2019).

The women’s team has also found success at Miami under Bonewit-Cron, coming off a runner-up finish at the MAC Championships after three consecutive third-place showings.

Bonewit-Cron played a prominent role in the success of Nicole Maier, one of the best mid-major swimmers in recent memory who won the ‘B’ final in the 400 IM at NCAAs in 2023 and was named the MAC Co-Swimmer of the Year that same year after she earned Freshman of the Year honors in 2021.

Prior to arriving in Oxford, Ohio, Bonewit-Cron spent seven seasons as the head coach at Nova Southeastern, building the Division II program from the ground up, landing her in the school’s Hall of Fame in 2022. She guided the men’s team to a 4th place finish at D2 NCAAs in her seventh season at the helm, and she also served as the head Olympic coach for Grenada in 2012 while coaching Nova swimmer Esau Simpson.

Although she hasn’t been there for eight years, Bonewit-Cron put the building blocks in place that ultimately led the Nova Southeastern women to the NCAA Division II title this past season.

Prior to Nova Southeastern, Bonewit-Cron spent one season as a volunteer assistant at the University of Miami (FL).

At the beginning of her coaching career, she served as an assistant, and eventually interim head coach, at Georgia Southern University while completing her master’s degree. She then worked as an assistant at the University of Florida from 2002 until 2008.

A decorated swimmer in her own right, Bonewit-Cron swam for Ohio University from 1996 until 2000, earning NCAA All-America honors in the 200 breaststroke as a senior and winning six individual MAC titles during her career.

“We are thrilled to welcome Hollie as our next swimming & diving head coach,” said Penn State Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Dr. Patrick Kraft. “She has a long history of building programs and coaching winners. We look forward to her leadership of our program and the bright future the Nittany Lions have with her at the helm.”

The Penn State men placed 7th out of eight teams at the Big Ten Championships in February while the women placed 9th out of 12 teams.

The Nittany Lion men qualified three male swimmers for the 2024 NCAA Championships—Cooper Morley, Victor Baganha (who ended up scratching) and Mariano Lazzerini, while the women’s team didn’t send any.

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Redhawk swammer
7 days ago

As a former Redhawk swimmer, the negative comments about HBC and the toxic “win-at-all-costs” mentality…is completely true. If you are not a “win-at-all-costs” swimmer forget it. If you care about getting internships, having a good GPA, and you want a bright future for yourself when your college swimming career ends you will be looked down upon. There will be NO sympathy if you’re injured, NO understanding if you have an interview for a potential job/internship (one of my old teammates had to do an interview in a swim coach’s office so they wouldn’t be 10 minutes late to practice, absolutely ridiculous). Yes, some people will abuse the power they have if she ever gives them an inch (they will want… Read more »

Last edited 7 days ago by Redhawk swammer
Jason Lintjer
19 days ago

Man, tough crowd in the old comments section. LOL

RedHawk1
22 days ago

As a former Miami swimmer, who spent several years under the HBC program, I can’t help but comment on this. The Miami program used to be a beautiful blend of athletic, academic and social success, which went to an absolute standstill at the helm of HBC. I’m not sure what former athletes here are claiming that HBC has a positive reputation under those who have swam for her, but for every positive experience, I can firsthand provide 10+ negative experiences. Athlete retention, especially on the women’s side, is horrible. The men’s team had slightly better retention, especially in the immediate years of her taking over, mostly due to a holdover on the superb culture built by Pete Lindsay and his… Read more »

thezwimmer
Reply to  RedHawk1
22 days ago

Not to comment on your opinions of HBC and the Miami program, but you are incorrect about the quality of the Men’s MAC championship since the loss of Buffalo and EMU in 2017 and 2018, respectively. Yes, 2019-2021 were not stellar years by any stretch of imagination, but 2022 onward has been arguably the best years in recent conference history. Obviously the depth is still catching up in some of the longer events, but individual and relay conference records have been falling left and right. Miami and Missouri State continue to be excellent programs all around. SIU has a real chance to challenge for the conference title, especially with a returning NCAA individual qualifier. Ball State, Evansville, and recent newcomer… Read more »

Swammer
Reply to  RedHawk1
22 days ago

YES YES YES. This is exactly why I said it was a terrible hire.

PSUdivers
Reply to  RedHawk1
22 days ago

Because you know inside info, how was her off season (summer) development program? This is where athletes can greatly improve.

Miami swammer
Reply to  PSUdivers
19 days ago

Horrendous. Stayed in Ox for 3 summers under her and added time in LCM events all 3 times as someone who was a budding lcm swimmer out of hs

Go_redhawks
Reply to  PSUdivers
7 days ago

HBC demands that athletes sacrifice professional development (internships, jobs, etc) and all personal interest to remain on campus over the summer to train. Then, she will leave town for between 1.5 – 2 months for “vacations” and other unnamed trips, leaving little guidance for the assistant coaches who remain in town to train the athletes who have found accommodations to stay in town for the summer.

Not a fan
Reply to  RedHawk1
21 days ago

Couldn’t have said it better myself! Perfect response.
Look at the numbers they don’t lie. Women’s swimming retention was awful. You won’t develop under her, she will use you, injure you (look at all the female injured swimmers forced to retire) and replace you with a new naive freshman, transfer or foreign swimmers.
The self centerness and favoritism is awful. Good swimmers who could have been great in college end up getting destroyed. They don’t get better. You either kiss up and let the awful behavior continue or they quit. She cultivates the ultimate mean girl culture and and doesn’t care about anyone except herself.
She doesn’t care what the team does outside the pool as long… Read more »

Don't Hold Your Breath
Reply to  RedHawk1
20 days ago

I simply could not have written a better response. There is a reason Miami seems to be the only program in Ohio that has extreme difficulty recruiting athletes locally, or even within the state. Just a handful of years ago, numerous in-state powerhouses were represented within the roster, and now under HBC, MUSD is known in the Ohio swim community as “the place where great swimmers go to be good”. It was an ongoing joke within the team that the practices watched by potential recruits were the only time we would get coached by HBC. Swimmers who made the arrangements to train in Oxford over the summer, after being told that it would be an invaluable training experience that would… Read more »

Not a fan
Reply to  Don't Hold Your Breath
20 days ago

Amen.
100 percent on track.
Thanks for not caring at all about the great athletes who worked so hard to end up in such a miserable situation and thanks to all the Miami athletic support systems for athletes that failed us.
Don’t forget to mention than scholarships shenanigans she plays every year.
Too bad she didn’t leave years ago.

JGabriella
Reply to  RedHawk1
19 days ago

Very well stated comment. I’m sorry so many had experiences like yours at Miami. Seems to me more of this sentiment than anything else…glad someone else sees things for what they are. Someone else with actual knowledge of and connection to the program. Not these cheerleaders with an opinion and no real frame of reference for what went on there.

Swimmer Adjacent
22 days ago

I’m reading through these negative comments and I see two themes:

1. People who are in some way connected to the Miami program and are using this forum to air personal grievances (“mediocrity as far as developing athletes” “such a poorly managed program” “she is not a nice human”)
2. People who are in some way connected to the PSU program and feel this hire is beneath them, and they deserve someone with a more recognizable name or prestigious history

My responses to those would be:
1. For every one athlete that had a poor experience at Miami or with HBC, I’d venture to say at least 20 athletes love the team, the school and the coach. They’re… Read more »

Unfortunate Coaching Choice
Reply to  Swimmer Adjacent
22 days ago

@Swimmer Adjacent – You clearly do not have any personal knowledge of what has actually gone on in the Miami Swimming and Diving program when you guess that there is only one unhappy athlete to every 20 happy athletes. The truth is the exact opposite. There are many more Miami athletes who do not like HBC and are not happy with how she has treated them compared to the number of athletes who genuinely like HBC. While most athletes do love the university and the team, it is in spite of HBC, not because of her. This coaching switch is good news for Miami and very unfortunate for Penn State.

Swimmer Adjacent
Reply to  Unfortunate Coaching Choice
22 days ago

Sounds like you belong in bucket number 1 above.
I’m not going to get in an argument here. We each have our unique perspectives.
She had success at Miami. She probably didn’t mesh well with some swimmers (I’m sure that goes for all coaches). She’s moving on. I think we should too.

Patrick
Reply to  Swimmer Adjacent
21 days ago

The coddled child era has arrived in sports. Athletes were the final holdout, usually mentally tougher makeups, more self-driven and focused. But you read SS comments on every hire/fire and it sounds like every coach was a PoS and damaged their athletes mental health. That’s ridiculous. Every coach is not a PoS and the swimmers aren’t always right. I know D1 and D3 coaches that say they have to walk on eggshells themselves when they want to hold athletes accountable, because the kids will run to the AD support staff and complain about it being an assault on their well-being.

Not every coach is right either and I have zero skin in this conversation, but it’s something to keep in… Read more »

ForGotham
Reply to  Patrick
21 days ago

Yes and no, I agree athletes have a lot more power than they should and there are those that abuse it. However there have been recent examples of coaches that did in fact abuse athletes but you didn’t hear about it until the lawsuits came out. I was a swimmer for an abusive controlling coach and nothing ever happened to him, it didn’t matter how many athletes went to admin it was always swept under the rug. No athlete is going to go out of their way to try to get an article written about the coach, they’ll just quit. Just because you don’t hear it, doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. Blown out of proportion? Yes probably, but non existent… Read more »

Patrick
Reply to  ForGotham
20 days ago

Thanks for the response, Gotham. Its a tough era to weed out what’s actually going on sometimes.

ForGotham
Reply to  Patrick
19 days ago

100% agree, kids have a lot of opinions these days and it’s good that they’re being heard. Some coaches that have “stepped down” recently have basically been given an out because enough athletes have gone to administration. They usually aren’t fired because you can’t fire someone by based on what one person says, but when half the team is going to admin they have to do something. I find it hard to believe a team would form a coup without good reason, although coaches will always have individuals on teams that you’ll never please.

That’s the thing about this site being anonymous though, it’s not always athletes coming in here saying good or bad things. Sometimes other coaches that are… Read more »

Admin
Reply to  ForGotham
19 days ago

While I know that the “other coaches” thing is a rallying cry of a certain sect, it’s pretty rare that a coach from a rival program does that. It’s 99.9% parents, athletes, or coaches who used to work within a program.

There are a few notorious examples. They’re usually deleted if they’re pretending to be someone they aren’t. I have a list of 3-4 coaches who are notorious for this, and you’d be shocked to learn who it was.

JGabriella
Reply to  Swimmer Adjacent
19 days ago

You’d be wrong.

Miami swammer
Reply to  Swimmer Adjacent
19 days ago

Hollie is and was an abusive and manipulative coach who placates her athletes to score points only. She chews the girls team up and spits them out when shes had enough. I have no personal grievance with her but she literally has ruined the culture that existed when i came in shortly after Lindsay’s departure

Sarah Ellsworth
Reply to  Miami swammer
1 day ago

So sad!

myshouldersstillhurt
Reply to  Swimmer Adjacent
14 days ago

The point is that in the BIG 10 with the amount the school makes the athletic department at PSU should be recruiting at a level that will exceed the previous coaches. I believe the AD has a responsibility to keep up with the conference. Not saying she is bad but not proved at PSU level. The slight mention of problems with swimmers and or staff should have deterred them. Hargis, Tim were a little better on paper and wound up being burdens on the program.

JoePaCantSwim
22 days ago

Until they pony up and build a new facility it doesn’t matter who is coaching there. When was the last time PSU got the best high school swimmer from PA? No one wants to go there because of the atrocious facility.

PSUdivers
Reply to  JoePaCantSwim
22 days ago

They did get the top PA diver.

PSUdivers
Reply to  JoePaCantSwim
22 days ago

PSU got PA top diver.

PSU alum
Reply to  JoePaCantSwim
21 days ago

Shane Ryan in 2012. Nate Savoy, Bob Bantley, etc. they obviously weren’t getting David Nolan.

They used to be the program that got all the Hershey kids. Murphy ruined the program. Seems like the retention rate isn’t going to improve.

Seems like a mediocre hire for a school that has other athletic priorities. Football, wrestling, basketball, hockey, etc.

But the pool is pretty dated and Penn State just signed for $700m for Beaver stadium. That’s why I’ll never give another dime to that school.

Alum
22 days ago

As an alum of the program (i.e. suffered through the scary tail end of the TM era), seeing a new HC hire for Penn State brings me an indescribable amount of joy. I don’t know Hollie nor any of her former athletes well, but she has a proven track record of success and I am hoping and praying that she is able to help the team start making some noise. Despite the poor year to year team performance, PSU has a handful of really great pieces in place and I’m hoping that she is able to bring in staff and support them to help start the rebuild they so desperately need. I know a handful of candidates who interviewed for… Read more »

Bayliss
22 days ago

It’s crazy that she has to introduce herself to a new team whose first impressions are some keyboard warriors nocking her down, and criticizing her accomplishments before she even has had a chance to start.

SheCanCoach2024
Reply to  Bayliss
22 days ago

Exactly. Why all student-athletes and parents should not let the anonymous messages taint their perspective. Get to know Hollie on your own with an open mind. Be excited you have a new coach and remember change can be good, not just the scaries you read on SwimSwam comment section.

JGabriella
Reply to  Bayliss
19 days ago

Sorry her new athletes have to hear the truth…would you rather we lie to them?

Miami swammer
Reply to  Bayliss
19 days ago

These are anonymous swimmers but you and anyone coming to or associated with PSU must understand the culture of abuse and toxicity that existed under her, was complained about, and ignored year after year by the AD

myshouldersstillhurt
Reply to  Bayliss
14 days ago

This is what she signed up for. People are allowed to ask questions. She’s not Bob Bowman, people are going to wonder. As previously stated PSU has a past on the swim team on allegations of abuse, neglect, and horrible coaching.

Mrrogers
22 days ago

This is out right disappointing. James Franklin gets a bazillion dollar contract and swimming can’t get Big Ten level candidates? There was a time her resume would be lucky to be an assistant at a Big ten school. I hope I am wrong and wish her the best of luck. She undoubtedly has great coaching ability but disappointed PSU is always making these types of decisions.

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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